I resolve, every day in 2014, I will give my team members a life of self-respect, inclusiveness, rewarding, growth and personal touch.
When a new year starts, we make some resolution to quit something, to leave something or achieve something for I, me and myself and sooner or later they get vanished somewhere in busy life.
This year, let’s make a resolution to include something in my life every day for someone who works for me, whom I expect to follow my instructions, who live around me whole day, whose success depends on me and who makes me succeed.
Some people do everything right, some make mistakes, not so intelligent, not so hardworking and not so focused but every one expects some respect. Most of the people are average performers who often make some mistakes. They need a person who can speak to them in private, explain the impact of their mistake, guide them to correct and support their corrective actions. You put them in defaulter’s list, tell in front of everyone or even in private how their mistake has caused the damage, make them feel foolish and they will forget all your advises and remember that moment forever.
We prepare a plan and show the team members what tasks they need to execute and later complain that people are not taking the plan seriously. How many times we care for their opinion about my plan? How many times we discuss with team to form strategy before directing them to execute. We fear that it will be difficult to build consensus among so many people, we cannot implement all suggestions, it will take long time to prepare a strategy but in hurry we forget that it would take longer to execute if we don’t do so. Let’s sit down with our team to take their suggestions, seek their opinion and understand their concerns while planning. Agree, you cannot incorporate all the suggestions but what about taking out some time to explain why a suggestion cannot be incorporated now and may be reconsidered later? Let’s try out. Give them feeling like they are driving the project. I believe, it may take longer to plan but execution will be faster and smoother. If I ask you what is important? Plan or Planning? Nouns are normally outcome of verbs. If verb is right, noun would be right.
Every organization and project have rewards for their star performers but our bell curve shows most of the employees are average. We say giving reward to star member will encourage other average members. I have seen award ceremonies for the students who scored 95% but could not see any student who scored 60% getting any motivation as he knows he will never score 95%. 60% is not bad, right? What about a student who scored 60% last year, achieves 66% this year? Doesn’t 10% improvement deserve a reward?
Your average employee may not solve your most critical problem but they will execute most of your project work. What about rewarding them on improving by 10% or so? Don’t you think it is achievable by everyone and inspire them for higher performance every period?
When we take a new member on board, we ask several questions to check if he has required technical skills, if he has right attitude, if he has capabilities to deliver what we expect. Did we ever ask, what he expects from us? When people come on board, almost everyone try to judge if new project and manager will help him getting a raise, promotion, a chance to do something meaningful, challenging or get recognized. Just knowing what I want is not enough, even more important is what I can give back. We should understand what our people want from us and create opportunities for their fulfilment. We should provide a platform to nurture their talent, polish their skills, prepare them for a raise in financial status and develop them for higher roles.
Everyone including us come with a question “What’s in it for me?”. Level of interest and commitment is directly proportional to the answer of this question. Many times we reject this question by terming it hidden agenda. We forget that we also have hidden agenda. In fact hidden agenda is not as bad as we think but definitely difficult to understand. This is also a question if properly satisfied, can bring highest level of commitment. Our challenge is to understand everyone’s “what’s in it for me” and connect them with the project work and objectives. To understand it, we need to connect with the person personally going beyond project and organizational boundaries and formal position. We may need to lower down our bandwidth to match with the individual. This is where meaningful discussion takes place and magic happens.
A good performing senior analyst sitting on bench for some time now, was allocated a project of regular maintenance due to technology match. This project can hardly offer any challenging assignment. The analyst was reluctant to join the project. Manager went into personal discussion to figure out that analyst wants to do a certification. Discussion goes as follows…
Manager: You were sitting on bench for some time, why didn’t you take this opportunity to attempt for certification exam?
Analyst: It is uncertain. You never know when you get a project and once you are in project, you don’t get any time to prepare.
Manager: Bench are uncertain and projects are demanding. You know this project is quite cool. No such pressing assignment. You will get time to prepare and pass the certification exam.
Analyst: That’s right but many times assignment can be pressing?
Manager: Possible but on this project such incidences are less. Let’s take a target of 3 months. You join the project, apply for certification exam and set a date 3 month down the line. I will see you will get time every day for preparation. May be you need to stretch a bit some time but I believe, you will not mind it for this certification.
Analyst: Ok, will you release me after three months?
Manager: It is give and take. When this project helps you achieving your goal, I am sure you will be eager to help this project back. You can help me in another area. I have an agenda to improve the performance by 10%. Currently we are serving 10 service requests per person per day. We need to take it to 11 service request per day. This could be challenging.
Analyst: Looks interesting but how long I need to stay on the project?
Manager: Minimum 1 year. During this time, you can also work upon some of the softer aspects which will help you taking higher roles. We will identify some training needs. I will also help in identifying new role and assignment matching to your new skills.
Analyst: This looks good. When can I start?
Implementing little bit of this 5 points agenda can enrich life of members of any team at any level.
Will you make this resolution today for 2014? I look forward to hear your views…