You are on page 1of 1

NEW DELHI | WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2015 | FOR ADVERTISING QUERIES: CALL 011-64691761

Advertorial and Promotional feature

www.ItsMyAscent.com
- YOUR CAREER TOOLKIT

>> (L-R) Vineet Nayar and Gary Hamel


WHAT SEPARATES A GREAT WORKPLACE FROM A GOOD ONE? VINEET NAYAR,
FOUNDER, SAMPARK FOUNDATION AND GARY HAMEL, MANAGEMENT
VISIONARY RANKED AS ONE OF THE WORLDS MOST INFLUENTIAL
BUSINESS THINKERS DISCUSS WHAT ORDINARY COMPANIES HAVE BEEN
DOING WRONG ALL ALONG, WHILE THEY ALSO GIVE CORRECTIVE MEASURES

We are yet to come across a great


leader who attributes his success to
a leadership programme
Viren.Naidu@timesgroup.com

YOU HAVE WORKED WITH


SOME OF THE BEST
Q
LEADERSHIP TEAMS OF
LEADING ORGANISATIONS.
WHICH WERE SOME OF THE
COOLEST PEOPLE PRACTICES
YOU HAVE STUMBLED UPON?
Hamel:
General Electric runs one of
its most advanced assembly
plants using a single plant supervisor for 400 technical employees.
Could you imagine using a 1:400
span of control in your company?
The worlds largest tomato
processor runs a business for
around 700 employees without a
single boss.Team members negotiate their job responsibilities with
their peers and are individually responsible for acquiring tools and
skills they need to do their work.
Red Hat, the enterprise software company, crowdsources
its strategic planning to the entire
company. They believe that
ground-breaking business ideas
can come from anywhere.

1)
2)

3)

ANY SPECIFIC PRACTICES


FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE
Q
YOU WOULD URGE INDIAN
COMPANIES TO EMULATE?
Nayar: My vote would go to IDEOs
unstructured workplace and Gores
natural leadership philosophies.

At IDEO, there is no corporate hierarchy and no management structure. Employees are invited, not orderedto attend meetings.You earn
the right to lead if people attend
your meetings willingly.You lead
with innovative and interesting
ideas and not your position.When
selecting Gores new CEO, the board
polled a wide cross-section of Gore
employees asking who theyd be
willing to follow.They werent given
a list of names; they could nominate
anyone in the company!
DESPITE SOME VERY
SELECTIVE COMPANIES THAT
Q
INDULGE IN PEOPLE-FRIENDLY
PRACTICES, SEVERAL LEADERS
FAIL. DONT THEY?
Hamel: I agree. Even the worlds
most admired companies often suffer from three incompetencies. First,
they are too incremental.While they
may have been innovative once,
they havent made innovation a
deeply embedded capability.
Second, they are too inertial.Topheavy management structures and
a snarl of red tape undermine responsiveness. In most companies,
there are very few incentives for risktaking and a few mechanisms that
support internal activism. Finally,
most companies are uninspiring. It
was long assumed that the culprit
here was uninspiring work, but
thats not the case.The real problem

INCREMENTAL, INERTIAL AND


UNINSPIRING - HOW CAN
LEADERS OVERCOME THESE
DISABILITIES?
Hamel: They have to re-engineer
their companys management practices, so that they become pro-innovation.This means training people to
be business innovators and including
a set of innovation goals in every
managers KPIs. Leaders ought to
work hard to make their companies
more adaptable.This means learning
from the web, which is distributed,
modular, open, transparent, community-based and intensely meritocratic.

IF GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY
TO HEAD THE HR
Q
DEPARTMENT OF AN INDUSTRY,
WHICH IS THE ONE KEY CHANGE
YOU WILL BRING ABOUT?
Hamel: If it was the IT industry, I
would hire more people who have a
non-technical background. IT is just
an enabler, but to see how it can
transform lives, you need to bring the
human element into every conversation. And if it was the retail sector, I
would ensure that at least one-third
of the top team is comprised of individuals who have deep experiences in
social media, mobile platform development and online retailing.
CAN YOU BUST A FEW MYTHS
ASSOCIATED WITH PEOPLE
Q
MANAGEMENT PRACTICES?
Nayar:
Myth: Leaders can be developed
through cookie-cutter training
models
Fact: Leaders need to be enabled, empowered and inspired on-the-job, to
believe in themselves and be unafraid
to experiment every day. I am yet to
come across a great leader who attributes her/his success to a leadership programme.
Myth: Work-life balance is about
having sufficient downtime
Fact: People who are passionate
about what they do never have to
worry about work-life balance. A 100
meter Olympic athlete trains for four
years to run a race of less than ten
seconds and enjoys every minute of
that four year journey.
Myth: Women leaders need more
privileges and opportunities to encourage them.
Fact: Women actually need no
favours; they need an environment to
perform and leaders who can help
them aspire higher and work smarter.

Ankita.Shreeram
@timesgroup.com

n India, we dont like to


talk about heavy subjects like nepotism.
Wed rather term it a
favour for a friend and be
done with it. However, recent
cases of unfair preferential
treatment have proven that
this attitude can prove truly
detrimental to the reputation
of professionals and organisations. Recently, an airline
found itself embroiled in
controversy after it came to
light that the a
senior employees
daughter
occupied a
seat reserved
for the
crew,

Contest
CONTEST TOPIC: MY SECOND INNINGS,
POST MOTHERHOOD
Log on to www.ItsMyAscent.com to participate

VOICE
of HR

Voice of HR is a monthly
contest wherein you, the HR
representative, can
participate and share your
inputs and insights on the burning issues
in the human resource space. Post your
article for any one of the following topics:

WOMEN: BETTER BOSSES?


INDIA INC NEEDS MORE
FEMALE CEOs

THE WINNING ENTRIES WILL BE


PRINTED IN ASCENT
To participate, log on to
www.ItsMyAscent.com/HRZone

Ask the mentor


Have a career query? Bad
bosses? Promotion
dilemma? Work-life balance
issues? Job hunting stress?
Fret not as Dr.Aquil
Busrai, CEO, Aquil
Busrai Consulting and
Dilip Chenoy, CEO & MD,
National Skill
Development Corporation
will resolve your queries
To post your query, log on to
www.ItsMyAscent.com

Let the celebrations continue...


On Womens Day,
we featured several shining icons
among women
professionals in
the country and
judging by your emails and responses,
you were as inspired as we were, by their
stories and experiences. Continue to stay
inspired by reading more stories and interviews at www.ItsMyAscent.com

GET IN
TOUCH

WE ENCOURAGE FEEDBACK
FROM OUR READERS.
For editorial queries, contact:
Editor (Ascent): Viren Naidu
(viren.naidu@timesgroup.com
022-6635 3679)

TEAM ASCENT: YASMIN TAJ, ANKITA SHREERAM


DESIGN: Resp-Art, Mumbai

cially by giving them jobs.


This is why many organisations require you to declare
any relatives in the same
company, at the time of hiring. Taking undue advantage
of connections in the right
places has legal implications
as well, although there is no
law that refers specifically to
nepotism. Nepotism on its
own is not a criminal offense.
But nepotism by a state employee with the aim of getting a personal future pecuniary benefit could amount
to cheating,
which, in

IMAGESBAZAAR

is leadership that fails to inform, involve and lead.

PLAYING
FAVOURITES?
WHEN IT COMES TO FAVOURS AT THE WORKPLACE,TREAD
WITH CAUTION, FOR YOU MAY JUST FIND YOURSELF IN
THE CROSSFIRE OF A PHENOMENON CALLED NEPOTISM
thereby depriving them of
much-needed rest. This isnt
an isolated case the favours
system is deeply embedded
in our culture and many a
time, senior executives find it
difficult to turn down a request from a family member
or close friend.
So what exactly is nepotism? We got Sarosh Zaiwalla, senior partner, Zaiwalla &
Co Solicitors to define it for
us, There is no legal definition of nepotism. Strictly,
nepotism is an undue favour
granted to a relation. The relation can be a friend or a
business contact. As per the
dictionary, nepotism is the
practice among those with
power or influence of favouring relatives or friends, espe-

certain circumstances, could


be a criminal offense, explains Zaiwalla.
Rajesh Tripathi, VP, GHCL
Ltd narrates a case of nepotism that he was privy to, I
had an acquaintance who
was not given due recognition for his achievements because of nepotism. The project was being delayed for
more than a year as there
was no ownership of the stated work. He proactively
asked the management to
pass on the responsibility to
him, which he carried out
successfully in the stipulated
time. But the recognition
went to a person who had better contacts. Since its the
people at the top who have
the power and ability to

grant such favours, such instances can only be curbed


by the commitment of the
top management. People
should lead by example by
imbibing the organisations
core values and bringing
them to the fore and by being
ambassadors to preach the
same message through actions to their subordinates.
The matter of trust and integrity should be stirred
and revitalised time and
again with rightful actions
and then only instances of
nepotism can be curbed,
agrees Tripathi.
As HR professionals, we
are vested with the responsibility of keeping the employees happy and productive in
an affirmative working environment that encourages
their growth. This goal is
hard to reach if there is
favouritism or nepotism being practiced, especially if it
goes unchecked. Therefore, it
is imperative to curb these
instances at its outset, avers
Dimple Maheshwary, director HR, Dentsu Aegis Network, India. A transparent
referral system is one of the
ways in which under-thetable offers of jobs and/or
other perks can be curbed.
Maheshwary lists a few other
ways:

Training managers to
select the best candidate
based on skills and
background and not halo
effects;

Having very clear policies on hiring practices


like hiring decisions have to be
made through a committee all candidates have to meet the
HR head and a designated
manager and present detailed
candidate references;

Clear reporting lines if


there are employees
who are related in the same
organisation.

Thus, with clearly delineated policies and steadfast


commitment to ethics from
senior leadership, the insidious practice of nepotism can
be done away with in Indian
organisations.