Monday, August 26, 2019

Why people block you on LinkedIn?

Have you ever faced it?
I have, a few times in recent years. Most recent is when a President Corporate Strategy and BD at a large Indian Corporate Group blocked me. I had been following him for a year or so.
He is a popular name on college campuses for his lectures. I respect his views and his candidness. He truly inspires and he questions many conventional idiocy, publicly and that makes him popular among those who challenge even the sacrosanct and this includes me!
Recently he was lecturing at an IIM down south and he shared on LinkedIn his lecture as an article. In that article he mentioned about a lady he hired recently from an ISB recently and he praised her for questioning even the senior management leaders at meetings, at this Indian conglomerate, in matters of business and strategy. I don't know what was his intent when he mentioned her name too, but what worried me was this: "how would a senior management guy take her questioning when she has just new (less than a year and maybe interning or on probation) at this conglomerate and she questions top business leaders. I looked at her LinkedIn profile to find that she had worked as a relationship executive and as Assistant Manager at a large hotel prior to her ISB diploma.
My worry was that, if those senior leaders read this speech/article by their President Business Strategy and BD, what would they assume? I asked the same in the comments to his article and marked the ISB lady too. Lady responded that She is new but she is passionate about her job, etc. Mr.President did not respond but blocked me on LinkedIn.
An ex-CHRO of Cipla did the same, when I questioned him that why his talent world view is so narrow: 1. Why he always hired in his team, the Chief Talent Officer, Chief of L&D, Director of HR for Ukraine (This guy was doing the same role at a Hyderabad based Pharma company, when this CHRO had hired him some 7 years ago) and many other roles, all from his previous company colleagues and why his two Chief Talent Officers, despite knowing each other so well left in 6 to 10 months of their stint? #clubculture, #coterie
2. Why his Social Media Hiring , Chief of Recruitment maintained two separate LinkedIn profiles (not allowed by LinkedIn) and why she ha mentioned in her profile, the email address of her recruitment consultancy and not of Cipla?
Result: He blocked me!
This is my experience and the difference that I see between Indian Managers/leaders and Outsiders, on being asked tough questions is that, they may not respond back, but they would not delete your comment or block you!
Why are Indian managers so insecure or so much full of ego or so intolerant? What do you think?

Some tips for setting your company/Team OKRs (Objective Key Results)

In a 2015 survey conducted by the MIT Sloan School of Management and the London Business School, it was found that only ‘one-third’ of 11,000 senior executives and managers could list their company’s top three priorities. That’s a huge problem. A company can be tugged in too many separate directions overtime as departments and employees make decisions without clearly set priorities.

What Are OKRs and how different are they from other Performance measures?

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) as John Doerr (who worked at Intel and introduced Google to OKR) defines OKRs as not just What is to be achieved but also How to get there! Executives see OKRs as a Goal-setting mechanism to give everybody ‘visibility’ and ‘transparency’ into what's going on. The biggest problem OKRs solve is ‘prioritization’. Performance measures even if very intricately defined still remain ‘guidelines’, while OKRs are ‘frameworks’! Unlike performance measures which are essential for measuring the health of the organisation, OKRs are flexible, easy to modify and even pivot. Contrary to commonly held belief, OKRs are not the usual top-down command and control based approach. Many of the Objectives are actually bottom’s up, where the origin is the people and functions,  in the front-line of business operations. This very unique design of OKRs makes it naturally engaging to the workforce. 

OKR fundamentals-

·        Well-crafted company-wide OKRs are simple but pack a punch.
·        Each objective is completed and measured by a few KRs. Determining these KRs, forces an organization to articulate what metrics it will use to measure progress on its objectives.
·        OKRs are made publicly available within the organisation.
·        OKRs have cycles for setting, reviewing, re-setting, revising quarterly and yearly.
·        Ideally not more than 5 Objective and not more than 3-4 KRs per objective are recommended
·        Nearly 60% Objective and KRs set by the individual and rest by manager
·        OKRs are not linked to performance reviews and decisions of career advancement or otherwise or bonuses, pay revisions, etc
·        Quarterly reviews are self-graded and self-reviewed by the individual worker, additionally reviewed by the reporting manager.
o  Grades should average 0.6 or 0.7 so there is room for improvement; 0.4 or below is bad, but a learning opportunity, not a failure
·        Consultant to help design format for Masterclass meets and advise on OKRs blogs and talk shows format. We understand, people want to learn from leaders not trainers. 

Does an Organisation need both OKRs and KPIs?

OKRs don’t replace KPIs. In all role-based organisations, KPIs have found unique importance as that defines the roles and it’s impact on outcomes that the role is created to make. KPIs usually are drawn from multiple sources, including business plan, role in the hierarchy that is administratively defined to take role based decisions, etc
OKRs set organisation’s priorities and direction for the company, it’s departments, functions, key executives and all other workers.
KPIs are key to everyday functioning of the departments even when organisation is backed by OKRs. Company-wide OKRs are common for all and they apply equally to all in the organisation, whereas KPIs are role specific and and they hold everyday operations and functions intact. OKRs framework encourages and aligns different roles to create their own goals (encourages creative freedom) within their role to achieve organisational objectives through their own and uniquely aligned Key Results. This is real example of distributed Objectives and Key Results, which drives higher levels of engagement, work satisfaction, provides opportunities and challenges to unleashes untapped talent. OKRs create more situational leaders than traditional KPIs based jobs! 
We recommend to start with a full-scale OKRs principles and frameworks orientation at an exclusive workshop for key executives, and help them discuss and build understanding on Objectives and Key Results examples from across business functions (Committed vs Aspirational). Include standard rule of Andy Grove’s seven rules for basic OKR hygiene is a great place to start your OKR “calibration” exercise.
This will help the executives get ready for setting Objectives and  Key Results for each of the standard rules for OKRs against key business . This will be followed with working sessions with each individual department leaders to think through and list down individually what OKRs they would set company-wide and what business metrics they would use to measure progress, how and when would they review it and what level of their personal vision and resolve they are backed by.
The consultants will then help with a Brainstorming session using all OKRs that leaders have brought to the table and they discuss and propose to the Chairman/CEO and seek feedback and mind-share of all heads of business functions present in the meeting. This will help the board select 4-5 OKRs and the at the end of this meeting have well-crafted company-wide OKRs ready.
The immediate next step will be for the CEO to communicate and share OKRs company-wide. He uses power of his leadership, vision to take along people on the new exciting journey and encourages people to join subsequent OKRs workshops that will follow to establish team level OKRs.
A workshop plan and calendar of events will be circulated to all teams and the consultants will conduct workshops for OKRs setting for functional and departmental levels as applies. It may also happen that some objectives may not have cascaded to all levels and may have jumped directly to a lower level for setting their Goals and KRs.
We will also demonstrate on how to use the performance management tool to record and review the OKRs.
Board and C level executives must be given overview of the whole OKRs process and progress of cascading of the OKRs. In addition to the work described in the previous sections, the consultant will also help ensure:
·        Individual worker level OKRs are set by trained Functional/Department leaders
·        Consultants will review all input OKRs for departments and teams, review, prepare feedback and set up follow up meetings with leaders to help them fix gaps and make OKRs more quantifiable/qualifiable, etc
·        Consultants will conduct a workshop with Role-plays for all leaders who would conduct weekly WINS review meetings.
·        DASHBOARDS AND REPORTS: All executives based on their roles and levels would have access to customized OKRs dashboards and would have ability to pull reports for real-time assessments and actions. 
Please share your thoughts and feedback.
Also, must watch this TED talk by John.

It's just feedback-would you sleepover it?

Everything that is broken can be fixed! Let's be positive but hiding deep rooted issues for long under the carpet could erupt with volcanic intensity. Let's fix it with gratitude! Thank Glassdoor, thanks to those who took pain to write their reviews.
As part of the Glassdoor review by an employee who worked between 2012 and 2018 with this IT Services company, based at Nagpur India (Happens to be a company I worked for as an HR Manager, between April 2009 and Feb 2011) This feedback got ONE star rating and has Pros too as you see here (This company is better you if are joining at any of the managerial designations.). My idea is to draw your attention towards the value laden review that it is by a seemingly quite committed and successful employee who ultimately became victim of a poor culture . Despite his poor parting experiences this person wrote a feedback which is more valuable than a management consulting firm's recommendations! Read below in italics!: This review was written in Dec 2018 and has been found "helpful" by 12 readers (highest number for all 136 reviews so far). You must know that this Glassdoor page is owned by the employer as "engaged employer", however, it is different story that the last company update on this Glassdoor page is more than 2 years old. Interestingly (and not surprisingly), despite being an 'engaged' employer , by tag, none of the reviews were ever responded to by the company respondent! Now surprised, in fact shocked! :) Sorry, read on please: here comes the feedback of the millennium, honestly, at least the President (and co founders, etc) of this company would certainly find it as such! Also to let you know that overall rating given for company is 3.4. This is a 15 years old company that has ~1000 people on rolls globally. CEO's approval rating on Glassdoor is 90% and this is laudable.
I want you to read it and reflect upon and share feedback and comments as you can do! Many of you will find facts and situations quite familiar and would resonate strongly at times with your experiences of workplace culture, leadership, policies etc.
This is important to note that this noteworthy review came to Glassdoor after nearly 9 months of the E&Y consulting to the company that recommended many all new and some modified strategy in following areas: Defining new Band & Grade Structure and mapping associates to it  Defining Competency Frameworks  Re-defining Performance Management System and Process  Defining the Career Management Framework 
 Cons: This review is primarily focused towards high attrition rates faced by the company and company’s inability to retain (senior/mid-level/junior) good talent. Associates are rarely recognized, let alone thanked, for going above and beyond to accomplish something out of the ordinary. Once you've "done the impossible", it's just assumed that you can and will do it again and again from now on. Extremely poor appraisal policy, leading to high attrition rate. More than 15% employees resigned this year alone. 1. Management culture- Management doesn’t like to pass on the responsibilities/opportunities to the layer underneath and mostly sits on powers to take decisions that are mostly made without any/unexplainable rationale. Company is in dire need of technical managers compared to ‘PPT and Excel Sheet’ managers. 70-80 percent managers are home grown and lack basic skillset to do healthy management. More than expected perks to management and peanuts to even senior technical employees 2. Compensation Culture- Company has been in extreme cost cutting mode since an year (after spending 30 crore+ for interior design of the newly leased facility and buying few not so necessary software tools). Nagpur associates get a hike of 4-5% whereas US associates get a hike of 2-2.5%. Yearly raises doesn’t even beat inflation. Management draws extremely fat paychecks while technical staff is left with peanuts. Company is not open towards new ideas and technical staff’s opinion mostly doesn’t count. Company has aligned pay structure as per (low) industry standards, and hiring new talent as per (low) industry standards. Low quality and unfairly low compensation specially for employees working on non-mstr tools and technologies. 3. Pathetic exit policies- You keep on getting new assignments even when you put papers. HR folks ensure that full and final settlement will not be done if an associate on notice period tries to leave/live peacefully. 4. Lack of transparency- I joined in the year 2012 and at the time company’s core policies were very much reflective of the dynamic culture (open dialog, transparency and work-life balance). With new policies, employees turned hesitant, less enthusiastic and now fear raising voice against wrong policies. In this company everyone is just confined to their own group only. Even managers take lunch together all the time like kids and don’t feel important enough to interact with other employees. 5. Technical Grooming and Trainings- Company doesn’t find it important to train employees in few niche areas (such trainings are also restricted to management folks only). Untrained employees can never become milking cows. 6. Brag culture- Company brags itself as a data analytics firm (with some recommendation from Gartner), unfortunately you won’t find a single data scientist in entire firm. Delivering MSTR ETL solutions is not how you become top data analytics company <unquote>
Now, what's your thoughts guys!

B schools ---factory mode or a mini-CoE?

If you go to a B School, it is largely it's reputation/brand name that you want to get tagged to. Obviously they are great so they have enviable and unique pedagogy and inspiring intellectuals to teach. But all boils down to the first placement that you get on campus. I have seen in 2008, after Lehman disaster, ISB Hyderabad students who had worked with me earlier calling me desperately to secure a job on campus. What worried them as fear #1 was, the 35K monthly education loan EMI.
I have got some hiring experinecs for tech, engineering and management consulting firms at B and T schools in India, some top 5 IITs, top 5 NITs, many other emerging T and also B schools, including ISB, Le High, U-Penn, Duke (in US)
Once, a corporate relations head of an new IIM in Rajasthan called me to ask, what he should adopt as practice to get this new IIM into the recon of the recruiters. I had given him some glimpse of my experiences of being a University Relations and Hiring Manager and here are the bullets for you.
1. Placements are the biggest truths! Everyone at college seeks placements and that seeking defines a lot on the matrix of success for any B School.
2. Companies look for bright students or not so bright at times and they may know which college to go for or may not know what kind of students work best for them. They may keep wandering and going to one set of colleges a year and next bunch the other year, to learn and explore and sometimes to oblige colleges, senior Alumni of their company, who influence them to go to their college. Happens! For new colleges, this alumni thing does not arise.
3. Placement team works through volunteering students many a times, and they keep making merry go round and visit targeted companies and make presentations. That also works like cold-calls. I had guys coming from Great Lakes Chennai for presentations when I worked for ZS Associates.
4. Companies play a local favorite and so companies in Mumbai will have favor for IIT Bombay and likewise. Also, for admin convenience of travel, cost time etc. Starting to build influence on local companies or local offices of companies really help.
5. People like you, who are brilliant orators build great relations and even get inroads into companies who are not open to new IIMs for reasons, you would know as you know sales.
6. Showcase best students to corporate connects and rest of the flock ride on that wave! Meeting corporates helps rather than inviting them to one busy conference on a generic topic, though special conclaves help if you get the best speakers form the corporate who can influence intern and final placements. Top level hedging always helps. Juniors in companies who run the road show can be aligned. Though relationships at all levels work.
7. Use best breed HR folks, (who can hire form your college) and other business folks from companies for 'mock interviews'. They carry lot of message back to the company. Use lean months for 'Mock interviews'.
8. Run some focused COEs for market research, latest trends, start-ups and tech collaborations, etc. at your IIM. Many companies have run out of ideas and have started enjoying one wave of success for longer than it runs! Tech change speed makes them obsolete and even their platforms of products, services or consulting becomes jarred and there a backward integration with IIMs and other top schools helps. They are good validation and critique grounds.
9. You need to showcase stellar professors to lead those COEs and make them run like projects. Let them run not on subsidy but as Business Consulting model of top 5 consulting. MBAs are made to run businesses not just join a sales and marketing team and keep getting coached and paid. At college they must be tested if they can bring a billable project to college. Lost of IIMs and other T schools have incubation centers and they attract attention of 'investors'.
10. Run industry research, win sponsors, publish like McKinsey Quarterly.
11. Run management course departments like businesses and let them compete with each other.
12. Run IIM like Facebook, Google, Amazon, why not? Look for their values and how to see opportunities and build their own niche! Students must be picking one company and do a deep dive analysis of that in the overall macro-economic space to their unseen future! Ask students to build 5 solid industry connects in one company that they choose and get their impression made! Establish dialogue and make them look back at you!
13. People at colleges like IIMs have to create their own brands and demands! If they cannot sell them, what can a company trust them for?
14. Apply all marketing gimmicks. You can approach companies to place folks for internship and finals by segmentation.
15. Connect with global HQ folks and influence them to hire from you in India for their India offices.
16. You have to place everyone!
17. Large companies like Reliance, Aditya Birla, Cognizant etc, I saw at ISB, hire in hoards. They were interviewing in 28 rooms at the same time.
18. Like sales cycle , larger companies may take longer to buy you but they help cover a large chunk of placements. PSUs are also good targets.
19. Students can collect their undergrad college alumni who are doing best in industry today and reach out to them for a symbiotic relationship that may help finally in placements.
I can think of more but do not forget to connect with Angel Investors and independent investors and therefore the start-ups with good products and services and they getting investor attention. Many starters are becoming game changers. Grab them early. Provide them students at internships who can help them and since in internships students so do insider and critical work, they get PPO.

Mr.President , your CHRO is on vacation!

Everything that is broken can be fixed! Let's be positive but hiding deep rooted issues for long under the carpet could erupt with volcanic intensity. Let's fix it with gratitude! Thank Glassdoor, thanks to those who took pain to write their reviews.
This glassdoor review brought smile on my face! Not all creative engineers are writing novels, some of them are on Glassdoor too. Here is one that impresses me! This is the same place where I worked as HR Manager much before this guy joined the firm. I love that company and the school-boy faced CEO (co founder)! This man gets 90% recommendation from all him Glassdoor reviewing employees/ex-employees. Take a bow! But despite all that, why situations appear so alarming and deplorable? You will find mention of word, "management" below. Where does management rest? in the CEO, right? That surprises? confuses? whatever?....many more dished out below in italics.
Once upon a time in Nagpur, there was a good company in Nagpur named .
1. If you ask the recruiter Why - They will tell you why Nagpur (It is a green city, peaceful one, retirement kind of city etc. etc.) and will cleverly play with your question. 2. Project Catalyst and Fusion – My honest feedback to the company is that you’ll have to pay heavily due to this Project ConFusion. You took the services of expensive consultants, hired extremely expensive CnB guys to cut costs. Spent over 50L to save 10-15L. No wonder you’ve earned wrath of your employees who have resigned and gone. You earn in $ and crib about paying as per Nagpur standards. Does dollar have a different value for Nagpur? 3. The Salary structure is big time screwed up. You can’t think of saving taxes with such structure i. PF component – Just because the employer does not want to pay equally same amount and they save on that. Homegrown associates and even managers do not understand this as they have never worked outside. ii. Variable pay – The Company cheats you here the most. As per the policy, Band 2 employees have 15% variable. However when the recruiters are hiring new Band 2 guys, to lure them they will hire them at 10% variable and suddenly next year they will increase this to 15% in the name of policy. Therefore, this is how they manipulate policies as per their own benefit. New aspirants BEWARE. 4. Lack of policies – One thing that the company lacks big time is basic policies. They will guide you, threaten you most of the times, quarrel with you in the name of policies that they don’t even have. Try it once to believe it. 5. Appraisal – This is confusing at . Managers will close the appraisal without even discussing anything with you. 50% of the managers do not even know how should they do appraisals, what is bell curve, how to resolve conflicts. Hike given to off-shore and on-site peeps are extremely unfair and different. Yearly increments do not even beat the inflation. 6. BPHR – This is literally the most irritating team in the entire organization led by hopeless, blue-eyed and rude HR Leads. The thick headed and strong-headed individuals in this team run the entire show and rest of them are mere puppets. This team in co-ordination with the Kharra man of is solely responsible for the poor EXIT experience of employees. Not sure where they suddenly get projects for associates on bench? 7. On-site projects – Company lacks here yet again. No rotational policies are available. Onsite managers run their own rules and policies. If anyone speaks against the Namdar, they get fired. It’s like either do what I say or FO. They manipulate over-time policies and ask associates to purposely work for few hours during weekend to be able to charge overtime and earn additional bucks. Management knows it all but... 8. Nepotism – I can name as many people in the company who are there just because of nepotism of some kind or the other. If you are related to CEO, if you are from VNIT, if a politician has recommended you, if you are a girl friend or wife of someone in the HR team, or of those at managerial levels, you will easily secure a job and can stay there forever. No matter how pathetically you perform or have no prior experience you will keep drawing fat paychecks. To be safer, one can also work in the same team, which is head by their husband and can enjoy all the liberty, know exact salary figures and appraisal figures of team-members. 9. Dual employment or Own business – The company’s appointment letter says “During the period of your services with our company, you will not work directly or indirectly for any other person, firm or company either with or without remuneration. Nor will you be involved in any other trade, business or enterprise in any capacity.” Several employees are running their business in their own name or in the name of some family member. Policies at are so weak that they cannot even take actions against those employees or even ask for any explanation from them.
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Advice to Management
-Stop nepotism -Invest in People -Adopt good values -Don't surround yourself with Yes speaking men Lastly, even NICE has better policies. Learn from them. Have a NICE day!!

Why people block you on LinkedIn?