Thursday, October 22, 2015

What and Who Stops YOU?

During the course of appraisal discussions that Krish had with Ram, he had understood Ram’s problem.  Krish tried a lot to motivate Ram in various ways, but Ram would’nt budge an inch. After quite a lot of discussions and exploration, Krish understood that Ram had immense abilities but low willingness. When Ram was given new responsibilities or was told to take up new initiatives, something was amiss. That indeed was the million dollar question. Krish was quite clear there was a solution and that he had to act on this.

Krish spoke to a senior credentialed coach and he was assigned to Ram so that through a process of exploration and questioning, Ram would appreciate what came his way. After several intense coaching sessions, Ram came to the appreciation of the fact that he was stopping himself from acting on ideas, offering decisions, and taking the necessary risks for implementation. However, this was still not the final solution. And something had to be necessarily done to provide a breakthrough to Ram. The senior coach too was looking for a breakthrough till he chanced to read an article by Madeleine Blanchard. What the coach read hit the coach hard - a real whack on the head. The article was a story narrated by Sheryl Sandberg of on one of her Lean In Videos. In her role as COO at Facebook, Sheryl was faced with a big decision. She looked to CEO Mark Zuckerberg for input – but instead of giving her his opinion, or even an answer —he asked her, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” She was thunderstruck.

The same happened to the coach. He thought it was a powerful coaching question. In his next meeting, he tossed the very same question after initially prodding Ram for a while. Ram scratched his head for a moment but this time with a gleam in his eyes. Ram thought for a while and was seemingly talking to his inner self getting present to what was happening with him all these years. It was the fear of failure, the fear of not looking good if he made mistakes, and the fear of inadequacy that was stopping him. Ram had realized that he was the one committing suicide by his surrender to fear. For Ram this question was a life transforming one. It made him understand that he had to cross the limits he had laid for himself.

Is there a lesson for any of us?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Humour saves the day

All of us go through trying times and sometimes reach a deadlock. My personal learning has been that lightening the situation, thinking on your feet and making  interesting and humorous  conversations help.

I remember a few anecdotes and thought I will pen some of them.

I was interviewing a candidate for the post of ‘ Sales Manager’. My colleague and I were in the panel. After the interview finished, there were discussions with respect to the suitability of the candidate. I was of the opinion that the candidate did not answer many of the relevant questions on the subject of Sales and Marketing and hence was unsuitable. However, my colleague had a different point of view. Heated discussions ensued between both of us, and my colleague more often than not loved  to have the last word. Since the right candidate had to be recruited, I asked my colleague for three reasons that he feels that the candidate should be considered. My colleague replied saying that the candidate was good, nice and with a smiling disposition. Intrigued by this, I asked him an innocuous question “ Are you looking for a Manager or a son in law?
This question eased the situation and settled the issue and both of us were laughing our guts out.

At one of our plants, there were negotiations going on with respect to certain facilities to be provided to security personnel. The rationale for these benefits being given was not acceptable to the management  and the situation had reached an impasse with union ready to walk out. The union submitted that security personnel were hard working and sincere and hence their demand. At this juncture, I informed them about an incident that I remembered. I told them that it so happened in a company that a security guard was found drunk during the night shift and when questioned, the union representative replied saying ‘Jane do na Saab, socho na security bahut tight tha’. This diffused the situation and all of us started laughing.

One day morning I left my house in a huff for office, slightly angry with my wife. It is she who ensures on a daily basis that my pen, wallet, handkerchief and my belt are all kept in place for me. After I reached office, she called me and told me ‘Ensure that your pants don’t come down.” I then realized I had forgotten to wear my belt. Both of us had a hearty laugh. This ensured my anger disappeared.

Simple and small, but they say it all. Such humorous conversations cheer all of us and saves our day.