Sunday, July 28, 2013

What Makes a Good Workplace?

(Analytical Series on understanding how to make the great workplace based on the Gallup Research)

What makes a great workplace?

Is it pay, benefits?

Is it too complex to understand?

Traditional beliefs held that we should manage the workplace from the standpoint that people will always dislike work, and when they are at work, they will always want to be somewhere else. For years, organizations have attempted to measure and understand employee opinions in an attempt to understand great workplaces. Much of the outcome has been discovering what a great workplace is NOT, versus what it IS. Companies have emerged from one consulting project after another with all the "don't do's" and "quick fixes" and have still struggled to observe much sustainable change.

A few years ago, The Gallup Organization decided to initiate a multi-year research project to try and define a great workplace. The first task was to define what "great" was. They decided that while a great workplace should be one where employees are satisfied with their jobs, it could not be considered "great" if it was not producing positive business outcomes. So they studied workplaces with an eye on four key outcome variables: employee retention, customer satisfaction, productivity and profitability. Based on this research, they have made a number of key discoveries.

Discovery #1: There are no great companies. There are only great workgroups.
Gallup has discovered that to truly understand the workplace, you must be closer than the 36,000 feet level. At this level, it is impossible to distinguish the best from the mediocre workgroups. Best practices of productive workplaces can only be observed at the workgroup level. It is easy to understand why companies have focused on mostly situational factors, like pay, parking, discount in the cafeteria, etc. It is easier to influence these factors from an overall company strategy. But these factors do not really make a difference to the best, most productive employees and workgroups. In all of the companies they have studied, there is tremendous range among workgroups. And great workplaces in different companies have a great deal in common.

Discovery # 2: There appear to be 12 dimensions that consistently describe great workgroups.
There appear to be 12 key dimensions of great workplaces. While the 12 dimensions certainly do not explain everything, they consistently correlate with those workgroups that have higher employee retention, higher customer satisfaction, higher productivity, and higher profits. The dimensions do not include pay and benefits. That does not mean that pay and benefits are not important. But it does mean that they do not differentiate great workgroups from the rest.

(Continued to next week...)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Managing styles of different managers…

Every person has different behaviour and habits and if we considered managers as personJ, then they have strange behaviour and habits.  There are few managers who start their work after office hours. When you want to leave the office at sharp 5.30 pm, they will call you and will spoil your evening.  Some walk faster than employees, some have habit of staring out of the window while talking to employee, some managers let you give answers, some hide information and there are lot more other variations. Here are these different types of managers explained that why they do stuff they are used to do in front of employees.
Walking faster than employees: You will find these mangers in passages and corridors always walking fast than you. They are very busy and always ask you to run.   “We’ll have to talk” you can hear them say, just as they have disappeared around the corner.
Staring out of the window: These managers you usually meet with their backside faced to you with their hands in their pockets. When you talk to them, their thoughts keep staring out of the windows.
Managing by post-it’s: Some managers forget everything. They want to impress you with their busyness by continuously writing on Post-it’s while you are talking.
Managing by delegation to the secretary: These managers just delegate everything to the secretary. If He/She is good, He/She knows what he must do.
Managing by knowing nothing: These managers don’t really know anything at all. They let YOU give answers. Meanwhile they fill the time with nice anecdotes of irrelevant cases.
Managing by conceptual thinking: These people try to explain the present from a theoretical view of the far future. The idea that this never will work, completely satisfies them: They will always have something to talk about.
Managing by hiding information: Information hiders are aware of the market value of strictly secretly kept information. You must be very thankful to get any information at all. Beware of stimulants from category 5!
Managing by doing exactly what the boss says: These managers prevent their bosses from creative thinking. Else they got more work to do.
Managing by walking one foot behind the boss: In hierarchical organizations you can watch those groups walking in the corridor. The more equal managers are directly followed by the lesser equal managers, and so on.
Managing by smiling and wearing nice suits: If you drink beer with them, lunch with them, smile to them and also wear nice suits, nothing can stop your career anymore.
Managing by studying: Despite their continual attendances of all kind of studies and congresses, they still belong to category ‘MANAGING BY KNOWING NOTHING’. The longer they learn, the further they get from the practice.
Managing by creating vague overhead sheets: Do you know them? Those sheets with some big arrows, boxes or circles? These sheets provide the ultimate proof of their overall brilliance.
Managing by open door and empty room: This is a major improvement of the older ‘OPEN DOOR’ management style. Now you can really walk in and out anytime you want. Nobody ever knows where these managers are.
Managing by speaking with other managers: This kind of managing is very popular. It will give them within a few hours the same information as an employee can tell them in 15 minutes.
Managing by having a non supporting infrastructure: In an organization with a hopeless infrastructure, managers are really necessary. These managers will naturally prevent the organization from having a better infrastructure.
BUA management (by using abbreviations): This management style is ATRASACWOC. (Adopted To Reach A Shorter And Clearer Way Of Communication )
Managing by using buzz words: These managers like to bluff your head off with hip, nearly undefined, terms.
Managing by reorganization: If they think there is nothing more to organize, they reorganize.
Managing by believing: These managers must be spiritually educated, because they have no clues at all.
Managing by forgetting promises: If you remind them to one of their promises, the priority of that promise is to low to remember.
(Adopted from different sources)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Your Authoritative Voice

Once, very senior fellow professional called me. He was going to recommend me as the guest of honour and key note speaker for the convocation ceremony at prestigious business school at Pune. His tone is always authoritative with blank expression on the face. But sometimes, next person may be offended by his tone. I was little-bit taken back by his tone. I thought, is this person giving me the order of being the guest at that school?
During our childhood, our parents if angry with us would use the authority voice. Our teachers while scolding us would use different voice tone. We would understand that something was serious.  
However whenever we hear this voice, it sounds parental, deferent and submissive.  The voice of authority also affects animals. Although dog doesn’t understand the language of human being, it does understand the voice of authority. It knows when we are pleased with it or when we are angry with it.

Mr. Modi once mentioned during interview that he had
taken a formal training on how to use the voice.
This authority voice is required to influence and impress people. Off course, use of the authoritative voice is situation base unlike my fellow professional. You can recognize such voice by listening them. Sometimes, it is direct and sometimes, it is indirect. There are many magical ways to express yourselves with your voice.  I was listening Mr. Narendra Modi’s interview. He mentioned that he took the training on use of voice and speech. Now he is the best orator and communicator. Authority voice is one of the ways when we want to command others, without making them offended.  

In normal speech, our voice naturally rises, when we ask a question and it drops when we make a statement. You can practice using the questioning voice with statement when you want to make them more acceptable and the statement voice with questions, to make them more acceptable and the statement voice with questions, to make them more like statements of facts. Listen carefully to how others speak, in real life, in films and on the TV. You will see many examples of using the voice in this way. Many effective communications depend on how something is said, although normally we are unaware of it.  

The authority voice is a pattern that automatically puts us in an obedient submissive state. We can understand these by listening and making the practice. You can even avoid being influenced irrationally by others who use these patterns.  
Great leaders, CEOs, receive training on how to make the influence by voice. It includes use of pitch of the voice, voice modulation and stress on the words. On TV you must have seen anchors and newsreaders. They are trained how to speak using the authority voice. Is something is said in one voice, then we tend to believe it, but, when same thing is said in another voice, we tend to doubt it.
We need to practice on the same. Under stress, our voice tone normally rises and makes is sound childish and weak. If you practice, you can make your voice sound powerful, even when you are nervous. Listen carefully and improve on it.
Watch and listen actors, newsreaders, anchors, leaders, CEOs, professionals and practice by listening them. Note their tone, changes they make and an impression they create.   
When you use the Authority Voice you will automatically become more powerful and influential.

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