Thursday, November 29, 2007

Doing more than what you've paid for

Yesterday I was travelling with one of my suppliers who re-confirmed the aspect of "doing more than what you've been paid for" which was coined by Napoleon Hill the famous author of Think and Grow Rich among many other books.

Many people do not realize this. But it is a sure fire way to get rich, progress in career, win business etc.

In many ways we as employees or entrepreneurs are blinded by the short term orientation syndrome. Our span of thinking is very very short term. Mostly we are there to make a quick buck! This is what Steven Covey calls short term withdrawals from your emotional bank accounts!

Most employees loose enthusiasm thinking they are paid less (there are many occasions even I've thought the same!), many entrepreneurs confine to deliveries that has only been agreed upon thinking that they loose by going the extra mile. Financially, yes they do loose in the long term. But what is more important is their ability win BIG in the longer term.

Let me illustrate;

Take a guy who works for a company with his heart and sole who might feel that he is underpaid at the next annual increment. But the fact is, if he is actually doing things beyond his prescribe scope which adds value to the organization, it will be a matter of time before he gets rewarded.

The same is true for many small time business owners. When they approached clients, they tend to be very careful in their deliveries. They are very fussy about accommodating expanding interests of the clients. Because they see how margins might erode by doing the extra thing or two. I know it's tough when you are an entrepreneur! But as they say you might have to bite the bullet and do it! Clients will offer you more business, make good referrals and above all a happy bunch of customers which is your biggest asset.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Developing leaders

Another key aspect which Mr. Welch highlights is the “continuous coaching” which they use to do at GE. A recent article series on Fortune magazine refers to how some of the companies groom leaders. Article goes on to explain how companies such General Electric, Proctor and Gamble, Nokia, McKinsey, Hindustan Lever, IBM (Fortune survey with Hewitt Associates and RBL Group) creates competitive advantage for their own organizations through breeding leaders. One of the greatest responsibilities’ of leadership is to develop other leaders.

As a manager who is responsible for two separate teams the author believes that his primary role was to develop those who were under his supervision. With the correct guidance and encouragement they’ve always come up with trumps when and where it mattered most. Author always encourage people to work on developing themselves and on regular basis work with them to chart out their progress in identified areas such as technical competency development and soft skills development. Coaching effort is indeed an investment which carries rich dividend.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Creating culture of candor

Jack Welch in his famous book “Winning” stipulates how he created and used a culture of candor at GE during his tenure to create high performance. This should be taken in to consideration by all practicing managers. Sri Lankan managers tend to give soft feedback with the intention of not “messing up”. While creating a culture of candor can be difficult from where we are, it must be understood that once it is created it is easy to operate. People will not only provide candid feedback but they will be ready to receive as well. However one needs to be culturally sensitive in this regard.

As a manager when the writer took over a new division he made it clear to the new team about the candid feedback and more importantly took them through a process of acclimatizing through regular dialogue. Initially most of the dialogue revolved around how they perceived the writer and their expectations vis-à-vis actual performance on weekly basis. The subordinates were encouraged to give feedback about the writer on continuous basis. When candid feedback was given to them they were made to understand to why it is important to receive such feedback for their own long term benefit. When team members acted upon given feedback it was acknowledged and rewarded where it was deemed appropriate.