Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lay offs – Made easy

I think there must be a book out there something like ” layoffs made easy” or “Rightsizing Counseling for dummies” ….
Its not easy to tell someone that they are not going to have a job anymore, let alone the fact they have probably worked for the company for 2 or 3 years etc.
Ones has to do what one has to do. The least HR personell can do is to make it smooth…. so we are Change Managers. Nothing to laugh about I guess.

Balancing the organizational and employee priorities is tough. Thankless job :)

Back after a break

Been occupied with work and unfortunately my personal projects were on the back burner, if not out cold. Well, I am back and I hope the contribution continues onwards from here.

When we move forward, its best not to keep looking back as it only assists in tripping and falling. I feel that. Obviously it doesnt mean one forgets the past. It just means to let go of the excess baggage and move on.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Difficulties With The Recruitment Process

Delays in receiving a formal job offer.

An offer of employment outlines important aspects of the job role. Any offer should specify the job title, job description (responsibilities), pay, company benefits and other relevant details.

Companies are bound by law to outline an offer of employment to successful candidates. Any offer of employment is a pre-cursor to signing a contract. Failing to receive a contract (documents) could show wider issues with the company such as inefficiencies or administrative failures (unprofessional?)

Feeling pressured into accepting a role

A good company will allow sufficient opportunity to consider a job offer. If feeling pressured into accepting an offer ask for more time. Should the company not allow sufficient time to consider options, then consider the motivations of the company.

It could be perfectly innocent where the company sees an ideal candidate and wants to secure their services. Conversely, it could be a company is desperate for someone to fill the role.

Also, should the company offer a package less than the market-rate, it could be the company hopes to secure someone quickly and who has not done any wider research.

Feeling pressured before accepting a role could indicate how much the company could exert pressure on its employees on a daily basis. Think of the wider picture - it might be worthwhile speaking to a current employee (discretely) to get a better picture of the management culture (management style).

Lack of organisation - recruitment process taking too long

Employers will do everything possible to find the right person. Good companies have a fairly efficient recruitment processes, only taking a short time to complete.

Delays could relate to technicalities of drawing-up a formal job offer or contract. For instance, there could be legal complexities or work permit issues. A good employer should proactively keep candidates informed of any employment issues and set expectations accordingly.

Exceptional delays and inadequate excuses are unacceptable. It is important to consider whether there is a viable job opportunity and whether there are wider problems with the company (i.e. problems budgeting for the role). Look on the Internet and search the company to see if there are any wider concerns about the company.

Be careful about continuing with this process and whether it is worthwhile concentrating efforts on finding another position elsewhere.
The job offer differs from interview discussions

Sometimes companies will change some contractual terms so it is up to the candidate to scrutinise the job offer very carefully. This could be a simple oversight and the company should take reasonable steps to correct any discrepancies. Failure to amend the job offer will highlight warning signs and a potential mistrust issue.

Accepting a job out of desperation

There could be circumstances where candidates have little choice but to accept a job role that is not quite suitable. Instances could include being out of work for a considerable period of time, a lack of opportunities or someone lacking good skills and experience.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Allen Carr - Quit Smoking

A very nice read. It has helped many people quit smoking. No scary visuals and no where does it say that you ought to stop. null
One needs to think about the family,loved ones and even themselves if they really think they want to quit. Its not about the feeling, its about doing!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What was I to be...

Like many kids, I too aspired to be a part of the armed forces, the Air force until the time I came to my O/Levels, that’s when I decided to be a doctor. However, a little later after speaking to a friend’s father who was a doctor, I decided to pursue engineering as a career. Why? Well uncle said “prioritize your life…If your personal / family life is the lead, then the medical profession is not for you”. I analyzed myself, and yes I prioritized.

Later, I developed a passion for electrical engineering, and since I wasn’t able to meet the sky high merit for the chosen field, I had to opt for CS. A long story short ... Eventually I land up… in HR :)

This is something I have always wanted to do. Career development, analysis, prognosis and diagnosis, solutions and counseling. So, how did I end up in a profession that was a true calling? I have absolutely no idea.

Just a matter of luck!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Life in a nut shell

Every day , I drive on the Canal road in Lahore...Sometimes I recall my long drives up to the suburban north of Ontario. Pakistan is a beautiful country...yes my beautiful country is plagued by terrorists, bomb threats and even the everyday citizen littering the roads :(

This makes me sad in side. But I have noticed myself doing the same. Really I have done it, my wife generally points this out... The perks of being married I presume :) . But besides the fact that she is my conscience in this otherwise very selfish world... I have come to realize that every relation in life, is simply a reflection of how we perceive life.

One day I shall look back...if I am alive that long and wish I didn’t dump the streets of my country. But when will that day come?

For now, I am going to think and write shortly.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fish for a day

Helping the needy is a good thing...is it?

I like to think along the lines of developing a system where people can start to earn a livelihood instead of always waiting for hand outs.

So, how can I do that? I am thinking and these are just my thoughts.

How about starting a charity that collects money, finds needy people, thinks of ways that they can earn a livelihood and then implements the plan for them. We can monitor their performance and give them tips on increasing their performance?

Another way could be to work along some NGO?

I am not thinking right. I need a break.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bits and Pieces

A couple were being interviewed on their Golden Wedding Anniversary. "In all that time - did you ever consider divorce?" they were asked. "Oh, no, not divorce," one said. "Murder sometimes, but never divorce."

It's a safe bet you know all the advantages of your product or service. But it isn't product advantages that close the deal - it's customer satisfaction. Product advantages don't mean a thing unless and until your prospects visualise what the products mean to them personally. The more you appreciate this fact, and the more firmly you keep it in mind, the more effective your sales presentation will become. Talking in terms of product advantages is like trying to sell a man a sports jacket without letting him try it on. He simply isn't going to buy it until he puts it on and looks in a mirror. Then he can see what the jacket does for him and generate a real desire to own it.

Translating product advantages into customer satisfaction isn't difficult. It's merely a matter of customising your approach, of presenting your product or service in terms of the desires and satisfaction of this particular prospect. Yet it's amazing how many salespeople are content to generalise. They talk endlessly about what a wonderful sports coat they offer, but neglect to have the prospect put it on.

The most important thing you can do to close any sale is to paint the prospect a vivid, realistic picture of future satisfaction - so vivid and appealing that he or she can't wait to grab your pen and sign the order. That's what selling is all about. People don't buy product or services - they buy the expected satisfaction of using and owning them. Paint a picture of each prospect's satisfaction at the start of your presentation and keep it up till the order is signed. Don't talk in terms of product advantages, talk in terms of future satisfaction - until your prospect can see it, feel it, and taste it.

To believe with certainty, we must begin with doubting.

Ever come across an article about your product or a similar product in a trade journal or newspaper? Cut it out, have it laminated with plastic, and carry it with you to show to prospects or clients. If the article talks about the product in positive terms, it will help reinforce your sales presentations. If it points out negative aspects as well, use it to show how your product differs or how the product has been changed to eliminate those problem areas. If you want to include copies of the article with the literature you give to clients, write to the publisher and ask for reprints of the article. They're often printed with the masthead of the publication across the top and make impressive pieces to leave behind.

Scientists estimate that the average person's impression of the world is 87 percent visual. Hearing, taste, touch and smell make up the other 13 percent. What this means is that salespeople can't afford to concentrate solely on the verbal aspects of their presentations. If they do, they won't be making the most of their product or service.

It's not the words alone, but the total picture you and your company present to a prospect that counts. This includes the attitudes, actions, and visual impressions made by everyone who contacts the prospect. Take the way you handle your product, for example. If you take worn, dusty samples out of an old battered sample case and dump them casually in front of prospect, what kind of impression are you making? Obviously the prospect won't think much of your wares if you treat them with disrespect. On the other hand, if you treat your company's products as if they had great value, you're more likely to instil that feeling in the prospect.

Everything the prospects "see" has a tremendous effect on them, consciously or unconsciously. This includes your appearance, the quality of your presentation materials, your briefcase, the pen you give them to sign the order with, and the cleanliness of your car when you take them for a ride, the smile or the frown on your face. The top salespeople in every field take pride in their products, their company, and themselves. And they reflect this pride in everything they do, visually as well as verbally.

They also do everything they can to show prospects the benefits they can expect from using their products. The salespeople know that words are not enough. If you want your customers to think your products and services are valuable, you have to treat them that way, every chance you get. Don't think people don't notice these things. They do. And it will make a difference.

Most people don't plan to fail - they fail to plan.

The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.

A famous teacher once said that if he saw a pupil in despair over his work he always gave him a higher mark than he deserved. The following week the student always made a higher mark himself.

In a poem "Ode to Retirement" by Len Ingebrigtsen, is this line: "The reason I know my youth is spent? My get and go and got up and went."

Franklin Roosevelt started his career as a lawyer in New York. One of the first cases he was retained to represent was a particularly difficult civil suit. The opposing lawyer, a notable orator, did well in his pleadings before the jury. However, he made one big mistake: he talked on for hours.

Roosevelt, noticing the inattention of the jury, decided his strategy. When his tun came to sum up his client's side of the case, he merely said: "Gentlemen, you have heard the evidence. You have also listened to my distinguished colleague, a brilliant orator. If you believe him and disbelieve the evidence, you will have to decide in his favour. That's all I have to say."
Within five minutes the jury returned. It had ruled in favour of Roosevelt's client.

Somebody asked the owner of a small country store why he didn't advertise. "Oh, I tried it once," he replied, "but people came from all over and bought nearly all the bloody stuff I had."

A leading business authority makes an interesting distinction between those in an organisation who have power and those who have authority.

Power, he says, is something earned, a sharpening of abilities and talents within the individual, generally over a long period of time. Authority, on the other hand, is something which is conferred on an individual. It usually accompanies a certain job level or position and can be withdrawn at any time. Not so with power. It is something you "give" yourself by making the most of your talents and abilities. Only you, therefore, can deny it. Authority, concludes this expert, is always insecure unless it is based on a real and positive power, that is, on ability.

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers - Voltaire.

33 Rules to Boost Your Productivity

Heuristics are rules intended to help you solve problems. When a problem is large or complex, and the optimal solution is unclear, applying a heuristic allows you to begin making progress towards a solution even though you can’t visualize the entire path from your starting point.

Suppose your goal is to climb to the peak of a mountain, but there’s no trail to follow. An example of a heuristic would be: Head directly towards the peak until you reach an obstacle you can’t cross. Whenever you reach such an obstacle, follow it around to the right until you’re able to head towards the peak once again. This isn’t the most intelligent or comprehensive heuristic, but in many cases it will work just fine, and you’ll eventually reach the peak.

Heuristics don’t guarantee you’ll find the optimal solution, nor do they generally guarantee a solution at all. But they do a good enough job of solving certain types of problems to be useful. Their strength is that they break the deadlock of indecision and get you into action. As you take action you begin to explore the solution space, which deepens your understanding of the problem. As you gain knowledge about the problem, you can make course corrections along the way, gradually improving your chances of finding a solution. If you try to solve a problem you don’t initially know how to solve, you’ll often figure out a solution as you go, one you never could have imagined until you started moving. This is especially true with creative work such as software development. Often you don’t even know exactly what you’re trying to build until you start building it.

Heuristics have many practical applications, and one of my favorite areas of application is personal productivity. Productivity heuristics are behavioral rules (some general, some situation-specific) that can help us get things done more efficiently. Here are some of my favorites:

Nuke it! The most efficient way to get through a task is to delete it. If it doesn’t need to be done, get it off your to do list.

Daily goals. Without a clear focus, it’s too easy to succumb to distractions. Set targets for each day in advance. Decide what you’ll do; then do it.

Worst first. To defeat procrastination learn to tackle your most unpleasant task first thing in the morning instead of delaying it until later in the day. This small victory will set the tone for a very productive day.

Peak times. Identify your peak cycles of productivity, and schedule your most important tasks for those times. Work on minor tasks during your non-peak times.

No-comm zones. Allocate uninterruptible blocks of time for solo work where you must concentrate. Schedule light, interruptible tasks for your open-comm periods and more challenging projects for your no-comm periods.

Mini-milestones. When you begin a task, identify the target you must reach before you can stop working. For example, when working on a book, you could decide not to get up until you’ve written at least 1000 words. Hit your target no matter what.
Time Management - How to Increase Your Productivity and Get the Results You Want
Timeboxing. Give yourself a fixed time period, like 30 minutes, to make a dent in a task. Don’t worry about how far you get. Just put in the time.

Batching. Batch similar tasks like phone calls or errands into a single chunk, and knock them off in a single session.

Early bird. Get up early in the morning, like at 5am, and go straight to work on your most important task. You can often get more done before 8am than most people do in a day.

Cone of silence. Take a laptop with no network or WiFi access, and go to a place where you can work flat out without distractions, such as a library, park, coffee house, or your own backyard. Leave your comm gadgets behind.

Productivity Management

Tempo. Deliberately pick up the pace, and try to move a little faster than usual. Speak faster. Walk faster. Type faster. Read faster. Go home sooner.

Relaxify. Reduce stress by cultivating a relaxing, clutter-free workspace.

Agendas. Provide clear written agendas to meeting participants in advance. This greatly improves meeting focus and efficiency. You can use it for phone calls too.

Pareto. The Pareto principle is the 80-20 rule, which states that 80% of the value of a task comes from 20% of the effort. Focus your energy on that critical 20%, and don’t overengineer the non-critical 80%.

Ready-fire-aim. Bust procrastination by taking action immediately after setting a goal, even if the action isn’t perfectly planned. You can always adjust course along the way.

Minuteman. Once you have the information you need to make a decision, start a timer and give yourself just 60 seconds to make the actual decision. Take a whole minute to vacillate and second-guess yourself all you want, but come out the other end with a clear choice. Once your decision is made, take some kind of action to set it in motion.

Deadline. Set a deadline for task completion, and use it as a focal point to stay on track.

Promise. Tell others of your commitments, since they’ll help hold you accountable.

Punctuality. Whatever it takes, show up on time. Arrive early.

Gap reading. Use reading to fill in those odd periods like waiting for an appointment, standing in line, or while the coffee is brewing. If you’re a male, you can even read an article while shaving (preferably with an electric razor). That’s 365 articles a year.

Resonance. Visualize your goal as already accomplished. Put yourself into a state of actually being there. Make it real in your mind, and you’ll soon see it in your reality.

Glittering prizes. Give yourself frequent rewards for achievement. See a movie, book a professional massage, or spend a day at an amusement park.

Quad 2. Separate the truly important tasks from the merely urgent. Allocate blocks of time to work on the critical Quadrant 2 tasks, those which are important but rarely urgent, such as physical exercise, writing a book, and finding a relationship partner.

Continuum. At the end of your workday, identify the first task you’ll work on the next day, and set out the materials in advance. The next day begin working on that task immediately.

Slice and dice. Break complex projects into smaller, well-defined tasks. Focus on completing just one of those tasks.

Single-handling. Once you begin a task, stick with it until it’s 100% complete. Don’t switch tasks in the middle. When distractions come up, jot them down to be dealt with later.

Randomize. Pick a totally random piece of a larger project, and complete it. Pay one random bill. Make one phone call. Write page 42 of your book.

Insanely bad. Defeat perfectionism by completing your task in an intentionally terrible fashion, knowing you need never share the results with anyone. Write a blog post about the taste of salt, design a hideously dysfunctional web site, or create a business plan that guarantees a first-year bankruptcy. With a truly horrendous first draft, there’s nowhere to go but up.

30 days. Identify a new habit you’d like to form, and commit to sticking with it for just 30 days. A temporary commitment is much easier to keep than a permanent one.

Delegate. Convince someone else to do it for you.

Cross-pollination. Sign up for martial arts, start a blog, or join an improv group. You’ll often encounter ideas in one field that can boost your performance in another.

Intuition. Go with your gut instinct. It’s probably right.

Optimization. Identify the processes you use most often, and write them down step-by-step. Refactor them on paper for greater efficiency. Then implement and test your improved processes. Sometimes we just can’t see what’s right in front of us until we examine it under a microscope.

Negotiation Skills

'Ignorance is Bliss' and 'Look before you leap' are old proverbs that occasionally haunt all too many of us. We side step some of our more irksome problems, hoping that if we ignore them long enough they will simply go away. Either that, or else we tackle our daily problems without giving any thought about planning our approach and plunge right into them to get them out of the way. Quite often, the problems that we either ignored or blindly leapt into see us land in a muddled mess. Afterwards, we tend to end up salving our wounded egos when things didn't turn quite how we expected them to instead. In our post game analysis, we find ourselves woefully shaking our heads and trying to figure out what went wrong.

Beginning a negotiation in a state of sublime ignorance or leaping into a negotiation without preparation, we often find ourselves blindly attempting to circumnavigate and struggle our way through our meetings. If a professional league coach were to attempt to tackle their opponents without getting some key intelligence about the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing team, they would soon run into profound difficulties while trying to catch up and make adjustments during the course of what would sure to be a very trying match. Likewise, this hapless coach would add to their difficulties by failing to fully appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of their own key players. It's too late to learn as you go along because that ship has already sailed. The pre-game process for a negotiation is no less different.

Four Steps to Eliminate Ignorance and Leaping Blind into a Negotiation

We need to access the strengths and weaknesses of our side before a negotiation. It is equally vital to do the same for our counterparts in the negotiation process. So, to help us prepare in advance, here are 4 preliminary steps we need to take before we tackle a negotiation.

Know the consequences:
We should never automatically assume that a negotiation is going to result into a successful agreement. Always ask yourself, 'Okay! If all else fails, what other choices or options do I have?' This means that it is most desirable to have some options or alternatives to turn to when the talks collapse. To use the popular parlance of negotiation, this means we need to know our BATNA which is the acronym for Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement, a term popularized by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their best selling novel titled, 'Getting to Yes - Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In'.

Our BATNA is critical to know because it provides us with a boundary line. It is a warning bell to advise us when it's time to walk away from what otherwise might be a counter productive agreement which is more detrimental than beneficial. It establishes a more specific rather than a general demarcation point for our reservation price. Any agreement made below or above this point, depending on whether we are the ones making or considering an offer, would not be a beneficial agreement. So, at this point, we must have our best available alternative to turn to instead. This an essential phase of our pre-planning process.

What's the other team going to do?

Another equally vital portion of the preparation equation is to determine and try and figure out our opposite number's BATNA. We must remember that they too are considering their viable alternatives and options, and this allows them to determine a cut off point where they will walk away from the table.

No, it's not as if we are reading their minds although it might seem like it on occasion. If we can reasonably establish what our counterpart might be considering by putting ourselves in their shoes from their business perspective, we might be able to more accurately or roughly ascertain a potential zone of agreement which is mutually compatible to both parties.

What are the real issues on the table?

Fisher and Ury have said that when we sit down to negotiate, each side will be presenting their bargaining and negotiating positions. It's like a number of different styles of poker games where several cards are visible to all the players sitting at the green felt table in a smoky back room, but some of the cards are dealt face down. The cards we see are the positions that both sides reveal, while the cards we don't see might be the real cards that motivate our betting. Those cards which we don't see are similar to the real interests or driving motivations behind the positions we use at the bargaining table. This is the information that each side really wants to obtain.

We might want to increase our sales by making a strategic alliance with another company. However, our real interest might be to increase our productivity because in fact our sales are down and our bottom line is starting to get that nasty tinge of red that scares the heck out of our bean counters. Our real interest then, is to secure our professional and financial security.

Understand the priorities

Knowing our own interests and figuring out their real interests is not enough. We can't just make up a simple list and figure that's all we have to do. We need to prioritize and rank this list according to importance. By understanding our own priorities and our counterpart's priorities we can more effectively consider our concessions in terms of their strengths relative to each side. The idea is to give up on less important concessions which may have value to them, while getting the other side to give us concessions which are more important to us.

It's all part of the dance. The idea is to make sure you're not trying to Tango while they're trying to do the Foxtrot as you're obviously going to end up tripping over each other's feet. It can be like watching a teenager dance with a grandparent to a techno beat at a wedding. As you go back and forth, you begin to get some clarity on the real issues and after awhile, and providing you're both on the same page, you can get some synchronization and realize there is a basis to help each other achieve our mutual goals and business objectives. Here is where we can both make a compatible deal through mutual problem solving.


Don't leap into a negotiation if you are ignorant about what you need to know about your own needs and alternatives, and similarly, don't neglect to put yourself in the other side's shoes either. Good planning and preparation are essential to successful negotiations. So, play it smart or else you might find yourself completely out of the game.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Energy Crises in Pakistan

Hmm, I am going to limit myself to my city - Lahore. Personal experience :)

There is no light, no fan, no tv, hmm... almost like being in the stone age at times. There will be a day very soon--- that I dread --- when I will be telling my kids of the special "button" that we used to press and magically there would be light...and I can hear my kid asking..."papa..whats this weird word "Light"??.

Funny, how the kids being born nowadays are immune to the load shedding. Just a couple of years ago, one could hear kids wailing in their homes the moment the electricity went off. But now, they are so acclimatized to it that little kids don't even bother anymore.

So, how long are we going to sit and keep looking for alternatives?

See, first there were UPS's - but then no light means no charge which translates to no backup.
Then there is the CNG generators - Government has now legislated a commercialization policy on that...fines, registrations ... inspection by a new set of teams.

And we already have the sky rocketing Petrol and diesel prices...

So tell me, besides going clinically insane...or leaving the country for a "better" option.... what other choices does one have?

Tell me... I am waiting....

BTW, almost forgot Solar power... do you know its against the law to produce your own electricity...one needs to use Wapda ...even if its not giving you any power supply, and then too, pay the same amount of bill that you would for a whole month even if you got electricity for only 15% of the month :)

Very funny. Maybe its better if our fellow Pakistanis laugh from the US,UK or even Australia... but what about the ones in Pakistan?


Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Eight Elements Of TQM

Eight elements are key in ensuring the success of TQM in an organization.
Total Quality Management is a management approach that originated in the 1950's and has steadily become more popular since the early 1980's. Total Quality is a description of the culture, attitude and organization of a company that strives to provide customers with products and services that satisfy their needs. The culture requires quality in all aspects of the company's operations, with processes being done right the first time and defects and waste eradicated from operations.

To be successful implementing TQM, an organization must concentrate on the eight key elements:


This paper is meant to describe the eight elements comprising TQM.

Key Elements
TQM has been coined to describe a philosophy that makes quality the driving force behind leadership, design, planning, and improvement initiatives. For this, TQM requires the help of those eight key elements. These elements can be divided into four groups according to their function. The groups are:
I. Foundation - It includes: Ethics, Integrity and Trust.
II. Building Bricks - It includes: Training, Teamwork and Leadership.
III. Binding Mortar - It includes: Communication.
IV. Roof - It includes: Recognition.

I. Foundation
TQM is built on a foundation of ethics, integrity and trust. It fosters openness, fairness and sincerity and allows involvement by everyone. This is the key to unlocking the ultimate potential of TQM. These three elements move together, however, each element offers something different to the TQM concept.

1. Ethics - Ethics is the discipline concerned with good and bad in any situation. It is a two-faceted subject represented by organizational and individual ethics. Organizational ethics establish a business code of ethics that outlines guidelines that all employees are to adhere to in the performance of their work. Individual ethics include personal rights or wrongs.

2. Integrity - Integrity implies honesty, morals, values, fairness, and adherence to the facts and sincerity. The characteristic is what customers (internal or external) expect and deserve to receive. People see the opposite of integrity as duplicity. TQM will not work in an atmosphere of duplicity.

3. Trust - Trust is a by-product of integrity and ethical conduct. Without trust, the framework of TQM cannot be built. Trust fosters full participation of all members. It allows empowerment that encourages pride ownership and it encourages commitment. It allows decision making at appropriate levels in the organization, fosters individual risk-taking for continuous improvement and helps to ensure that measurements focus on improvement of process and are not used to contend people. Trust is essential to ensure customer satisfaction. So, trust builds the cooperative environment essential for TQM.

II. Bricks
Basing on the strong foundation of trust, ethics and integrity, bricks are placed to reach the roof of recognition. It includes:

4. Training - Training is very important for employees to be highly productive. Supervisors are solely responsible for implementing TQM within their departments, and teaching their employees the philosophies of TQM. Training that employees require are interpersonal skills, the ability to function within teams, problem solving, decision making, job management performance analysis and improvement, business economics and technical skills. During the creation and formation of TQM, employees are trained so that they can become effective employees for the company.

5. Teamwork - To become successful in business, teamwork is also a key element of TQM. With the use of teams, the business will receive quicker and better solutions to problems. Teams also provide more permanent improvements in processes and operations. In teams, people feel more comfortable bringing up problems that may occur, and can get help from other workers to find a solution and put into place. There are mainly three types of teams that TQM organizations adopt:

A. Quality Improvement Teams or Excellence Teams (QITS) - These are temporary teams with the purpose of dealing with specific problems that often re-occur. These teams are set up for period of three to twelve months.
B. Problem Solving Teams (PSTs) - These are temporary teams to solve certain problems and also to identify and overcome causes of problems. They generally last from one week to three months.
C. Natural Work Teams (NWTs) - These teams consist of small groups of skilled workers who share tasks and responsibilities. These teams use concepts such as employee involvement teams, self-managing teams and quality circles. These teams generally work for one to two hours a week.
6. Leadership - It is possibly the most important element in TQM. It appears everywhere in organization. Leadership in TQM requires the manager to provide an inspiring vision, make strategic directions that are understood by all and to instill values that guide subordinates. For TQM to be successful in the business, the supervisor must be committed in leading his employees. A supervisor must understand TQM, believe in it and then demonstrate their belief and commitment through their daily practices of TQM. The supervisor makes sure that strategies, philosophies, values and goals are transmitted down through out the organization to provide focus, clarity and direction. A key point is that TQM has to be introduced and led by top management. Commitment and personal involvement is required from top management in creating and deploying clear quality values and goals consistent with the objectives of the company and in creating and deploying well defined systems, methods and performance measures for achieving those goals.

III. Binding Mortar
7. Communication - It binds everything together. Starting from foundation to roof of the TQM house, everything is bound by strong mortar of communication. It acts as a vital link between all elements of TQM. Communication means a common understanding of ideas between the sender and the receiver. The success of TQM demands communication with and among all the organization members, suppliers and customers. Supervisors must keep open airways where employees can send and receive information about the TQM process. Communication coupled with the sharing of correct information is vital. For communication to be credible the message must be clear and receiver must interpret in the way the sender intended.

There are different ways of communication such as:
A. Downward communication - This is the dominant form of communication in an organization. Presentations and discussions basically do it. By this the supervisors are able to make the employees clear about TQM.
B. Upward communication - By this the lower level of employees are able to provide suggestions to upper management of the affects of TQM. As employees provide insight and constructive criticism, supervisors must listen effectively to correct the situation that comes about through the use of TQM. This forms a level of trust between supervisors and employees. This is also similar to empowering communication, where supervisors keep open ears and listen to others.
C. Sideways communication - This type of communication is important because it breaks down barriers between departments. It also allows dealing with customers and suppliers in a more professional manner.

IV. Roof
8. Recognition - Recognition is the last and final element in the entire system. It should be provided for both suggestions and achievements for teams as well as individuals. Employees strive to receive recognition for themselves and their teams. Detecting and recognizing contributors is the most important job of a supervisor. As people are recognized, there can be huge changes in self-esteem, productivity, quality and the amount of effort exhorted to the task at hand. Recognition comes in its best form when it is immediately following an action that an employee has performed. Recognition comes in different ways, places and time such as,

Ways - It can be by way of personal letter from top management. Also by award banquets, plaques, trophies etc. Places - Good performers can be recognized in front of departments, on performance boards and also in front of top management. Time - Recognition can given at any time like in staff meeting, annual award banquets, etc.
We can conclude that these eight elements are key in ensuring the success of TQM in an organization and that the supervisor is a huge part in developing these elements in the work place. Without these elements, the business entities cannot be successful TQM implementers. It is very clear from the above discussion that TQM without involving integrity, ethics and trust would be a great remiss, in fact it would be incomplete. Training is the key by which the organization creates a TQM environment. Leadership and teamwork go hand in hand. Lack of communication between departments, supervisors and employees create a burden on the whole TQM process. Last but not the least, recognition should be given to people who contributed to the overall completed task. Hence, lead by example, train employees to provide a quality product, create an environment where there is no fear to share knowledge, and give credit where credit is due is the motto of a successful TQM organization.

About The Author
Nayantara Padhi is an HR Executive in an Indian Steel Industry, and is pursuing a Ph.D. on "The Human Dimension Of TQM". Mr. Padhi has published numerous articles in different national and international journals, and has completed a P.G. in Industrial Relations And Personnel Management.

Re-engineering and TQM

Re-engineering and TQM: Approaches to Organizational Change told as a
"Tale of Three Villages" By: David Chaudron, PhD


The chiefs of three villages each set out to build a bridge across a wide chasm. If they could build this bridge, the trade that came would enrich the lives of villagers for generations to come. The first chief told his workers, "Go forth and work. Do whatever is necessary to build that bridge." The villagers established a frenzied pace, for this chief abused those workers who did not follow his commands. The first chief boasted to the other two leaders about the speed of his construction. Unfortunately, because no one coordinated these worker's efforts, the bridge was a haphazard collection of nails and boards. It soon collapsed.

The second chief was watching this mess and decided to learn from the first chief's mistakes. She organized her workers into teams, and gave them a plan to build a bridge. At first, these workers had success, and built the bridge straight as an arrow far over the chasm. She boasted to the two other chiefs about the accomplishments of her workers. Unfortunately, the the next major storm destroyed the bridge for the chief did not know how to build structural supports. Her workers became discouraged and abandoned their efforts.

The third chief was watching their efforts and decided to learn from the other chiefs' mistakes. He sent his workers to the other villages to learn what they had done, and what they hadn't done. His workers then developed a plan. In their first step, they did not build the bridge at all, but focused on creating the support columns they would need. When they completed this task, they rapidly finished the bridge.

Many organizations are like the first village in implementing Total Quality Management (TQM). They start with vague directives with little clarity on what to do. Their successes are sporadic and likely to fail. Other organizations are like the second village, and become victims of their own success. Their initial quality improvement teams may be so successful they rapidly create more teams, without the qualitative organization-wide changes necessary to sustain a permanent effort. Some of these changes are obvious, in that companies must facilitate, recognize and encourage these teams. However, other qualitative changes (described below) also may be necessary. If these changes are not made, the TQM movement risks running into the same troubles that enfeebled the quality circles of the 1970's and 80's. (See "Quality Circles after the Fad" by Edward Lawler III in the Harvard Business Review, January-February 1985, and several recent articles in the Wall Street Journal).

Incremental Approaches
The first two villages used "incremental" approaches to TQM: They deal with technical problems the organization faces one at a time, without reviewing or changing any underlying "systems" issues, such as performance appraisal, profit sharing vs individual compensation, and organizational structure. Incremental approaches work best when senior management is unwilling to deal with these systems issues, when lower-level employees wish to experiment with TQM without senior management support, or when many in management are ambivalent towards TQM. Organizations can use approaches in "stealth" mode, where several quality improvement teams are quietly working without senior management's acknowledgement. These approaches are good for picking "low-lying fruit", (solving easy problems.) Incremental approaches can easily collapse when TQM "champions" leave the organization.

Incremental Change: variation one
Option one is one of the most frequently used models in implementing TQM, and perhaps the most wasteful of time and effort. Using this approach, every one in the company or a designated unit receives massive training (40-100 hours) in TQM, Statistical Process Control (SPC) and meeting management. After this training, employees in many are on their own.

In addition, because management does not tie training to implementation, natural work groups (people directly reporting to the same person), and cross-functional teams end up with only some of their members trained. Many people wait months before they used the training they were given.

The net result of this option is the loss of employee time due to too much training being given, employees feeling confused about the company's direction, and frustration at not using the training they received. Whatever success these teams are limited by the structural barriers the company has, that is compensation, organizational structure, performance appraisal, etc.

Incremental Change: variation two
Option two emphasizes 1) defining the company's goals and objectives, 2) selecting quality improvement projects tied to those goals, 3) training only the members of the process improvement team with just enough training, just before they use it, and 4) providing on-going support of each team's efforts.

The result of using option two is a more sharply defined effort than in option 1, with a much greater chance that the quality improvement team's efforts will directly relate to the company's quality goals, and a greater sense of accomplishment among team members.

As with option one, these teams' successes will be limited by the structural barriers the company has, i.e., compensation, organizational structure, performance appraisal, etc.

The Structural (Re-engineering) Approach
The structural approach to implementing TQM deals initially and directly with the systems barriers described above. Other names for this approach include organizational design and the "socio-technical" approach. Using this approach, senior management forms a steering committee, who then designate a design team made of a diagonal slice of the company. This design team then assesses the company's culture, systems and environment, and develops recommendations for the steering committee. Such recommendations can include self-directed work teams, profit-based pay, pay for knowledge, and reorganizing the company away from the "functional stovepipes" of manufacturing, engineering, sales and service, towards a more product, customer or geographically based orientation.

The chief advantages to this approach are 1) dealing with major issues up-front, rather than avoiding them, 2) changing aspects of the company that will have a substantial effect on productivity, and 3) demonstrating that management is serious about quality.

Disadvantages include the need to be open and honest with employees from the beginning (if that is a disadvantage), and dealing head-on with issues that many in management may have trouble changing: their own management style, their own pay, and their own power.

Source: http://www.organizedchange.com/village.htm

The Nine Pitfalls of Organizational Change

David Chaudron, PhD

The Wall St. Journal has many times reported on the struggling efforts of companies trying to effectively change their organization. With such national focus on the needs of organizations to respond to today’s volatile climate, why all the failure?

Based on our experience, there are several significant causes to an organization's change efforts to stumble or stagnate. You can use this information to avoid these pitfalls, or recover from them if you have fallen in.

Need-technique mismatch
This problem occurs so often it isn’t funny any more. A manager hires a consultant to help implement buzzword X. After conducting a thorough analysis, the consultant says, “You don’t need X. You need buzzword Y instead. The manager then replies, “That may be, but I already told my boss that we are implementing X?” A common example of this is when an organization hires someone to conduct a skills training course, but the lack of skill isn’t what is causing the organization’s problems. Many organizations put in one IT system after another to solve specific issues, but never realize the lack of integration among the systems they have is the primary cause of their problems.

More fundamentally, however, is the mismatch that occurs on a larger scale. Organizations often use small-scale, incremental techniques such as Six Sigma, when instead they need to evaluate their reactions to future scenarios of a radically changed business climate. They may need to divest themselves of a money-losing division instead of pouring more money into an industry that is dying a slow death.

Not making systemic changes
Management must realize that to fully implement change, satisfy its customers, and promote teamwork in the entire organization, often wrenching systemic changes must be made: Profit sharing may be introduced; individual performance appraisals may be radically changed or eliminated; organizational structure may be realigned away from functions (production, quality, engineering) to a customer-, process- or geographic-based structure; information may be given to employees formerly reserved for senior management; and significantly more authority may be given to line employees.

If management does not align these systems, the effect will be like Dr. Doolittle's Pushme-Pullyou” animal (a horse with two heads, each pulling in the opposite direction). Each system (rewards, structure, information, etc.) is tugging the organization in a different direction. The result will be much struggle and confusion, but little success.

Overuse of process teams
Some organizations treat Six Sigma teams (SSTs) like candy: They want dessert before having dinner.

I know of a 3000-person organization with over 70 current SSTs) working on a variety of issues. The organization avoids measuring their success, provides them little technical support, and still has not addressed "dinner" of the systemic changes (see next section) needed to support them. This implementation strategy has a high risk of failure, and organizational change will probably not become an integral part of their culture.

This problem occurs when, paradoxically enough, an organization achieves successes with its first teams, or hears about wild successes of other companies. They then buy a canned training program, or hire a trainer to setup their programs. Much training occurs and many SSTs formed. With various degrees of management support, these SSTs attack a variety of problems. Unfortunately, because of unclear long-term plans, and the lack of system changes, (see next section) many of these SSTs fail. As a result, the organizational change effort may stagnate, and once ardent supporters become disillusioned.

In addition, management often delegates a problem to a team as a way of avoiding hard management or personnel decisions. For example, one manager in a software company assembled a SST because the customer complained of too many bugs in the product. In addition, the manager needed a reporting system to evaluate the progress of the bug fixes. The SST quickly realized that this was not a "process" problem, but a personnel problem: One employee of the manager just wasn't doing his job. The SST knew this, and the manager knew it. Unfortunately, the manager was unwilling the confront the problem, and hoped the SST would find away around it.

Not making decisions up front
Many organizations need to design the architecture of their quality effort. If they do not, they risk pouring time and dollars into an effort that will eventually collapse. Among the decisions that should be made up-front, before implementing a quality effort are: the measures of success; the degree of employee involvement; the depth and breadth of implementation; and the techniques to be used. As someone once said, If you don't know where you are going, you may not like getting there.”

Caught between the square peg and NIH diseases
Many organizations buy canned implementation efforts that describe for them, step by step, what to do. This square peg approach is often not appropriate for the round hole of the organization. This kind of effort can often lead to the overuse of SST's and the problems with mass training (see the section on training).

On the other hand, organizations can also become infected with the not invented here (NIH) disease. They insist in reinventing the wheel when it isn't necessary to do so. I know one consultant who made a lot of money because of this disease. The rivalry between two manufacturing plants belonging to the same company was so fierce that they refused to talk to or learn from each other. This is despite the fact that they were located only a few miles apart. The consultant made his money by helping one plan with organizational change, and then driving to the other plant to do the same thing. The secret to implementation is not to choose between one disease and the other, but to decide what aspects of implementation can be bought, and what aspects need unique solutions agreed upon by management and employees.

Mass training
If you wish employees to use their training, organizations must train them in skills specific to their needs just in time to use them. Too many organizations have spent untold thousands of dollars and hours on training employees on concepts they may never need. If they do need these concepts, they will need refresher courses because their training was long ago. Because mass training puts such a burden on organizational resources, not all members of work teams are trained at once. As a result, some know what to do but others do not, which causes more confusion.

The no top management support excuse
Supervisors and line employees have often complained that they do not receive management support for their efforts. I believe all parties are at fault for this problem. Management may not fully realize what they specifically need to do to support SSTs, and SSTs choose to 1) work on problems that don't interest management or 2) don't get the proper authority and specific support from management before they start their efforts. This no management support is caused by unclear or unknown expectations.

An interesting problem in organizational change is hero worship. There are Deming worshippers, Crosby worshippers and Covey worshippers. These cults of personality often get in the way because any concept not uttered by one's hero is suspect and probably not true. Organizations can often get into this labelitis by swallowing a buzzword and avoiding any concept not labeled as such. One example of this happened earlier this month: A client said he wasn't interested in becoming a “team-based” organization because it wasn't “Six Sigma.”

Much the same thing has happened in Latin America with the word “reengineering”. The word has been misapplied so much that any mention of it is returned by a look of disgust. To properly implement organizational change, organizations must look beyond the label, and ask serious questions about what changes are needed and what they should do about them.

Not measuring results
No only do organizations not measure results, they often desperately try to figure out if they were successful after organizational change has already taken place. This is the messiest way to determine if change happened, because sometimes 1) the data should have been gathered before the organizational change happened and can’t be collected afterwards; 2) politics play their role as those asking if the change was successful may have hidden agendas seeking to either justify what has already been done or destroy what is taking shape.

Source: http://www.organizedchange.com/ninepitfallsoforganizationalchange.htm

Streamlining Makes Meetings Meaningful

A few simple guidelines can make office meetings productive instead of a source of boredom or dread, according to Taggart Smith, professor of organizational leadership and supervision in the College of Technology, Purdue University. One of the key factors to running a good meeting is to make sure it's needed in the first place.

Taggart Smith commented:

"I don't think you ever need a meeting just to have a meeting. Too many times meetings are held with no clear purpose, employees become bored and this affects morale. Before holding any meeting, the meeting leader should first determine if it's really necessary."

Two questions to ask before scheduling any meeting are 'Can this be accomplished with a phone call or an e-mail?' and 'What is the purpose of the meeting?'

She continued:

"Every meeting should have a clear objective that is communicated on an agenda distributed in advance. This helps focus the meeting so participants stay engaged and on track."

The agenda should include all topics for discussion, the time allotted to each item and who will be responsible for its implementation. A common mistake is to insist that all staff attend every meeting.

"There is often no point to getting the whole office together to meet. If there's a reason that all the people should be at the meeting, then that's fine, but if the topic to be discussed affects only a few people, why not just have a mini-meeting with those people?" she said.

Another problem is dealing with complainers who often bring up topics not on the agenda.

Taggart Smith suggests:

"The best way to deal with them is to confront them and say, 'that's a complaint, but what's your solution?' or, 'that's an important point, but it's a side issue that we can discuss at the next meeting'. And anyone can confront them, not just the meeting leader. If you can control the meeting process, you can control its outcome to ensure that the goals are achieved in the least amount of time so there are fewer lost work hours. It's really up to every meeting attendee to make the meeting a success."

Taggart Smith offers simple guidelines to make meetings quicker and more efficient:

Distribute the agenda, along with any materials to be discussed, at least three days in advance.
Meetings should generally last no more than an hour; participants' attention will begin to fade.
Be creative about breaking up longer meetings; use brainstorming groups or offer refreshments.
Include no more than five specific items.
Discuss the most important item first.

Interviewing Like a Pro in Five Easy Steps

By Linda Matias

It's an inescapable fact that interviews are the "make or break" factor on whether one lands the job. So it is surprising to find that most job seekers approach interviews with a cavalier attitude, without any preparation - they simply wake up the morning of the interview, cross their fingers, and hope for the best.

Unfortunately, walking into an interview cold rarely works. Human capital is the biggest expense an organization has. When all is said and done, a wrong hiring decision costs a company time and resources. Through a series of well thought out questions, a skillful interviewer will use the interview process to distinguish between those candidates who have experience and those who are experts in the given field.

An interview can be won or lost within seconds, and by implementing simple strategies, you can vastly improve your interview performance. Interviews can be challenging but they are manageable when approached as a five-step process.

1. A successful interview depends in part, on whether you understand your role and that of the interviewer. As an interviewee, you have two obligations - (1) to sell your qualifications and (2) to evaluate the position and leave the interview with a solid understanding of the job's requirements. Interviewing is more than just answering questions; it is about preparing, understanding and responding to the hiring organizations needs.

The role of the interviewer is to sell the company, assess your commitment to working for their organization and determine if you are the same person that is represented on paper.

In reality, your role and that of the interviewer overlap. Both of you are gathering information, selling a product and evaluating whether or not there is a match between you.

2. Before each interview select 3-5 accomplishments or skills that you consider to be your major selling points. Every time the interview shifts in a direction that doesn't support your agenda, figure out a way to steer the conversation back to your major selling points. When determining your selling points, consider situations where you demonstrated initiative, overcame challenges, and/or streamlined a process.

While it may be difficult to define the specific needs of every company that is hiring, all organizations are looking for an employer that has the following characteristics: advanced communication skills, teamwork skills, honesty and self-confidence. Whenever possible, integrate these qualities in your responses.

3. Build personal credibility by adapting your communication style to that of the interviewer. The way you communicate goes beyond the words that you choose. Your appearance, demeanor, posture and attitude all play a part in the way your message will be received.

Trust begins to form during the interview and by flexing your communication style you leave the listener with a subconscious message that says, "I can sit next to this person on a daily basis." Once you have accomplished that, you are one step closer to a job offer.

4. Turn the interview into a conversation by asking questions throughout the interview. Ask questions that reflect your interest in the organization. If you leave an interview without asking relevant questions, the interviewer will question your sincerity. By asking questions you show the interviewer your commitment to your profession and the industry.

5. Don't get blind-sided with questions that you should have been prepared to answer. There are several questions that are interviewers canned favorites and they include: Tell me about yourself, Where do you see yourself in five years? Tell me about a time when you successfully handled a situation?, and What do you consider your major achievement?

Rehearse interview answers, but don't sound rehearsed. Practice your responses until you feel that they clearly reflect your skills and personality. Don't just make statements that you think the interviewer wants to hear.

Going in unprepared is a sure-fire way to sabotage an interview. When it comes down to the wire and it is between you and another candidate with a similar background, interview performance will probably be the deciding factor on who gets hired.

Job offers are not won by accident; time spent preparing for an interview produces significant results. The more you practice your interviewing skills the more confidence you will gain and the more polished your presentation.

Recognized as a career expert, Linda Matias brings a wealth of experience to the career services field. She has been sought out for her knowledge of the employment market, outplacement, job search strategies, interview preparation, and resume writing, quoted a n umber of times in The Wall Street Journal, New York Newsday, Newsweek, and HR-esource.com. She is President of CareerStrides and the National Resume Writers' Association. Visit her website at www.careerstrides.com or email her at linda@careerstrides.com.

Interviewing Like a Pro in Five Easy Steps by Linda Matias, JCTC, CEIP (c) Linda Matias - All rights reserved

Career Development Programs

Research from the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) in conjunction with HR.com has found that 60 per cent of 382 companies surveyed have a career development program in place and 41 per cent use in-house coaches and/or mentors.

The "Career Development Practitioner Consensus Survey" also suggests that employees interested in this form of support are more likely to encounter it working in the "rich and diverse villages" of large corporations.

Jay Jamrog, senior vice president of research at i4cp said:

"We asked about career development outside of skill-based training and found that this kind of thing is a community effort. By far the most common type of development programs are mentoring and coaching. People aren't relying on trainers. They're relying on one another, tapping into each other's experience and expertise, especially in larger corporations."

The survey found that use of coaching/mentoring programs increases with company size with 48 per cent of companies with fewer than 500 employees, 58 per cent with 3000 to 5000 employees, and 65 per cent of those with 10 000 or more employees providing career development in this way. In addition, 80 per cent of companies that presently do not have such programs plan to introduce one within the next two years.

Jay Jamrog commented:

"There are a couple of possible reasons for this. First, a lot of companies are complaining about talent and leadership shortages, and these programs are one of the best ways of addressing those shortages. Second, younger employees attach a great amount of value to these kinds of programs. If they don't feel they're getting anywhere or learning anything, they'll just leave. So these are retention as well as development programs."

The survey also showed that 53 per cent of companies select career development candidates by manager referral although a number combine this approach with employee self-selection. The majority of companies (76 per cent) integrate their programs with talent management goals, and 81 per cent report that career development is integrated with business objectives.

Jay Jamrog concluded:

"That just shows good sense. Development is as important for the organization as a whole as it is for the careers of individuals."

Gender Stereotyping A Key Barrier

November 19 2009 - A study published in the December 2009 issue of the Psychology of Women Quarterly shows that management stereotypes are likely to evolve as more women assume leadership roles in the workforce.

Despite improvements in female participation at management levels, women still fill less than 2% of CEO leadership positions in the Fortune 500. It is not surprising to find, therefore, that leaders continue to be thought of as men with the management levels in most industries considered to be 'male-typed'. But in a few industries women have moved into management positions. These industries have become more 'gender-neutral' and there are indications that stereotypes of leaders as men may be changing.

The study, The Evolving Manager Stereotype: The Effects of Industry Gender Typing on Performance Expectations for Leaders and Their Teams by Susan F. Cabrera, Stephen J. Sauer and Melissa C. Thomas-Hunt of the Universities of Cornell, Clarkson and Virginia respectively, investigates how male and female leaders and their teams are evaluated differently according to the gender-typing of the industry in which they work.

The researchers' findings were that people have higher expectations for the performance of teams when the leader's gender is consistent with the gender typing of the industry in which the team works. However, expectations for performance of leaders' own performance were not impacted by their consistency with industry gender typing. According to Susan F. Cabrera:

"This research demonstrates the power of stereotypes concerning what kinds of people should lead organizations in what kinds of industries. In addition, it suggests that, as more women move into certain sectors of our economy, stereotypes may be evolving in ways that create a more level playing field for women who aspire to leadership positions."

Gender Stereotyping
A survey published in 2007 found that gender stereotyping was a key barrier to the advancement of women in corporate leadership, leaving women leaders with limited and conflicting options.

The Double-Bind Dilemma for Women in Leadership: Damned if You Do, Doomed if You Don't was the third in a series of reports examining the effects of gender stereotyping in the workplace by Catalyst, a non-profit organization working to advance opportunities for women and business. The study surveyed men and women business leaders in the US and Europe. Of 1231 participants, 296 were US senior managers and corporate leaders (168 women and 128 men) and 935 were European managers and senior managers (282 women and 653 men). The second part of the study provided qualitative analysis of in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 13 women leaders in a large US corporation.

The report argued that gender stereotyping results in organizations routinely underestimating and underutilizing women's leadership talent. The 2006 Catalyst Census shows that while women make up over 50 per cent of management, professional and related occupations, only 15.6 per cent of Fortune 500 corporate officers and 14.6 per cent of Fortune 500 board directors were women.

Ilene H. Lang, Catalyst president said:

"When companies fail to acknowledge and address the impact of gender stereotypic bias, they lose out on top female talent. Ultimately, it's not women's leadership styles that need to change. Only when organizations take action to address the impact of gender stereotyping will they be able to capitalize on the `full deck' of talent."

The report highlighted numerous previous studies demonstrating similar leadership styles in men and women. However, earlier research by Catalyst found that women business leaders faced persistent gender stereotyping frequently confronting them with double-bind "no-win" dilemmas not experienced by men. The current study found that men are still perceived as "default leaders" while women are considered "atypical leaders" and as violating accepted norms, irrespective of their leadership style.

The survey identified three common dilemmas currently experienced by women business leaders, supported by comments from participants:

Extreme perceptions. Women business leaders are perceived as "never just right". Those who act in a manner consistent with gender stereotypes are considered too soft, those who go against them are considered too tough.
"My observations show senior women to be at either end of the spectrum, drivers that do it themselves (even though they might have given it to someone). This type tends to give little recognition and is a perfectionist. The others are very effective delegators, giving lots of recognition and building loyal teams, but can be perceived as 'not tough enough'" (US man, age 35-44, level not specified).

High competence threshold/lower rewards. Women leaders face higher standards than their male counterparts and receive less reward. Often they must work doubly hard to achieve the same level of recognition for the same level of work and "prove" they can lead.
"Men and women are seen differently, and the difference in my experience and observation is that we (women) need to show it more times before they believe it. With a woman, they will want to see the behaviour repeated more frequently before they will say that this is really part of the women (sic) and her capabilities" (European woman, high-potential manager).

Competent but disliked. Women exhibiting traditional leadership skills such as assertiveness tend to be seen as competent but not personable or well-liked. Those who adopt a more stereotypically feminine style are liked but not seen as having valued leadership skills.
"...it may just be that people are more sensitive to how women behave in that regard. There does seem to be a little more tolerance for harsh behavior from men rather than women. Women are quicker to get labeled, and with men, it's easier to brush it off..." (High-potential woman, US-based manager).

"I have experienced in the past that women can be distrusted in leadership roles, especially when they use a dominant style of communication. On the contrary, if they use a collaborative style serving their organization and empowering people, they get more recognition and sincere appreciation from their male equals" (Spanish man, age 31-35, middle management).

The report suggested that organizations need to develop strategies to remove the pervasive and damaging impact of gender stereotyping from the work environment to take advantage of the expanding pool of female leadership talent.

Ilene H. Lang explained:

"While women may address double-bind dilemmas with individual strategies this is clearly about organizations shifting their norms and culture to meet marketplace demands."

The report argues that education about how stereotyping works and holding individuals accountable can decrease the negative impact of gender bias. Actions that organizations can take include:

Providing all employees with tools and resources to increase awareness of women leaders' skills and the effects of stereotypic perceptions.
Assessing the work environment to identify ways in which women are at risk of stereotypic bias.
Creating and implementing innovative work practices that target stereotypic bias; particularly effective when specific areas of risk, such as performance management procedures, are addressed.
The report suggested ways in which organizations can apply this knowledge:

Managerial training and diversity education - educating managers and employees about the origin and consequences of bias, inconsistencies between values and actual behavior, and causes and effects of gender inequality in the workplace.
Performance and evaluation management - employing objective and unambiguous evaluation criteria.

Source: http://www.hrmguide.com/diversity/gender-stereotyping.htm

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A brief history of HR Managers ( of sorts )

Human Resource management is not a new concept. Thou, I believe it has been standardized much recently, the railway applications or the Ford motor company etc models. Nevertheless, it has been around since the stone age.

Imagine group hunting expeditions.

The recruitment and or temporary staffing based on skills or previous success of individuals.
Compensation based on hierarchy in the group.
Rewards or bonuses based on involvement in the sucess of the hunt.
Certificates or "employee of the month" in the form of celebrations or victory paintings on walls with reference to one hunter.
Retirement benifits for older group members who are not able to hunt ( work ).

See the similarity... thats why I always say that being an HR manager is not being an MBA or CHRP certified... its about an attitude, a set of behavioral skills that make the difference between an ordinary number puncher and an exceptional HR visionary.

Monday, March 8, 2010

In memory of my friend Qadiryar...

My dear friend Qadiryar Jhakar passed away on the 4th of March 2010 at 9:45am from cardiac failure. He was 26 years old.

The shock has not passed, and I don't see any way of comprehending "why"!

Memorable habits, may it be our future plans of pool parties with foreign babes, or business partnerships or him and me hanging out with our wives and then our kids being friends and then me telling his kids all the silly things he did... I cant any more.

It bothers me, it really does. He reaches office at 9am, gives his wedding cards to his colleagues ( yes he was supposed to get married on the 4th of April 2010) sits down to start his work. There he is, talking about the wedding dances with his coworkers and during his word...he collapses takes 2-3 small heaves and moves on to the next world.

Simple... he left so easy...it wasn't that simple nor easy to watch his family when his body was brought in.

Life is so... unpredictable, to choose a suitable word is impossible at the moment. We were planning...yes planning.

He wrote a card for me and my wife for his wedding. No wedding, no friend.

That's life. I would only say that please call your near and dear ones today, right now and tell them how much you care for them. All this ego and status is left behind and we go in to the dirt. I cannot say anymore.

Rest in peace old friend!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dynamics of relations

Does our behavior in our personal relations affect how we behave in our professional relationships? Interesting question that just came to me.
I am thinking I should look up some research on the subject. For the moment, I am going to rely on my own experience. It seems true that most people apparently behave differently in their personal lives compared to their professional lives. However, if we were to probe deeper, we may be surprised to note that the inherent ethics and values are the same.
For instance, a person may not be in a position to be bossy at work, he may be very bossy and dominating at home thou. Now, this person may exhibit his bossy nature in a more subtle way at work. The trick would be to take note of such little things as stepping in front of a line and not excusing themselves. Generally it is small little things like this that give away the real values.

Branded for life...

Status symbols... Really? consider this: Most branded manufacturers in Pakistan are importing all parts from Taiwan and China and simply assembling them in Pakistan, and calling it Made in Pakistan. They keep up the sales targets because they have a brand in the market by now.

So, next time you go to buy a Sohrab or a Hero motorcycle, please do your research.

Also, it brings me to another point, are we really blinded by brands? Or is it the after sales service that attracts us to these brands?

Deep inside me, I feel that many people like myself do it for the after sales service that most of the brands provide.

So, I know a rather hasty conclusion..however, its late and I want to sleep...so I (sleepy) conclude that it has everything to do with the brand..as the brand is the guarentee of post-sales customer service.

QED at a later stage.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Predictive Modeling in HR

So, where did this come from?

My take on it is , that we do this all the time. We predict / forcast an outcome from past evidence. Simple.

I should be writing the for dummies books now :)

As HR professionals, as recruiters, that is what we do, without perhaps fully realizing it. Ever notice, that if a candidate from a particular university was recently fired for being unethical or simple not performing then the next candidate from the same university, prety much gets the boot. Its unfair, I may say. However, the recency effect too, but still. We do it becasue at the back of our mind, a logical model is developing, ringing a bell, telling us , alarming us that this candidate...or more so, this univeristy will because, it did in the past...

So guys, be very careful when evaluating people. GO deep..probe...you may very well loose a very promising new employee because of the wrong assumptions in the model that you create.


No Jobs OR Not Looking to hire?

If you are a fresh graduate reading this...you are probably here because you are free, and looking / searching online for jobs or any keywords that have job or career in them.

I have news for you - there are jobs out there! Yes, really there are.

The only catch is that there are also thousands of other fresh graduates for the same limited jobs. And if that were not enough to complicate the odds against you, there is a high multitude of out of work , experienced candidates who are looking to find any job. And if you are a smart person, you should have guessed by now, why you are still unemployed.

Logic dictates that if I as an interviewer have 2 candidates, one with ZERO experience and another with 1 or 2 or more years of experience... It’s not hard to decide who I would hire.

That is the current job market in Pakistan in a nutshell.

Feel free to comment please.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Price vs Value

Anyone wonder what value are "we" getting for the price "we" are paying for things here.

Electricity - We are in fact using less of it every day, some due to awareness and mostly due to loadshedding. However, atleast I for one, receive a bill every month which is the same if not more than what I used to pay.

Fuel - I dont even want to go there :(

Food - To eat or not to eat ... I love to eat... I am reconsidering my feeling for food nowadays.

Everything else - Infalated beyond imagination... well perhaps not so, because we have very vivid and ever expanding imaginations anyhows.

So, comments anyone on this?

Ability Human Resources

Visit the website for Ability Human Resources . I am currently working on this little project. I plan for it to mature over the next half a decade or so.

Any comments or feedback is more than welcome.


I wish....

I wish to go abroad, make loads of money...then come back to Pakistan and buy a huge house and a Benz :). Of course, goes without saying that a trip to the local gold market would be called for as well.

Acute fascination with going to USA, Canada, and Australia or anywhere besides being here is rampant amongst the youth.

Of course, it is a matter of personal opinion at the end. However, my spider sense ;) dictates that there is no place like home...