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Performance Consultant

Hi all...

I am a Performance Management Consultant..working for a leading training and consulting firm. I have a sound performance solutioning background..(n if you are wondering wat it means....identifying a performance issue - people or process based, building a solution around the same, deploy the solution through people and process correction mechanism like training, coaching, mentoring etc, and show effectiveness in what we do...)..

I thought of writing this article, from my experience of having to work with a large client organisation....(guess is not right to name .. :wink: )

Fighting the enemy within...

Have you come across this situation?

you are in a client facing role, your customer is very demanding, you are anxious to grow for your self and your sure many of us would relate to this...

But this is interesting..

have you had to work in a team, where your operations / back end team tests all your persuasion abilities to be able to deliver a project on time? To an extent, that if you have spent the same energies at the client side, you would have grown the business three fold?

Sounds funny isnt it? Does this happen? Can it happen? Am sure it happens in most professional in HR practices, do we get to understand what causes these? does it tire our teams? is it why people quit? do people articulate these when they leave?....

Whom are we fighting with...customers and competition outside or the back end team which is supposed to be your strength?

There are few people based attributes which contributes these issues..

First of all, are the goals of all the departments linked to the same objective? Say for exp: if the organisation's critical goal is Customer Satisfaction, does it link to every department in the system? is your finance guy working towards customer satisfaction? Is your HR system aligned? Is your purchase / admin linked to it? Though it sounds very obvious it is only painful to observe that many big organisations do not do wanna check if your organisation does this? Ask ten people around you.."What is the organisation's most critical goal, which links the entire organisation to work towards it?" if you get varied responses ranging from vague to wierd, you work for a system which is close to 60% of most organisations today...Check2: Do you have teams working on new projects but struggle during implementation? Check3: Do you have people quitting in the middle of the project abruptly?

To sum it up, the organisation's most critical goal needs to be linked to every department, every individual in the organisation

Secondly the CYA Attitude....pardon my language on this. But would prefer to be this strong...You would find people wanting to cover theirs and be protected, not bothered about the outcomes..."oh! if its good, it mine, if its it yours? or isit yours?...sure its not mine"...have you heard this before? This is another issue what we review people on...Do we reveiw actions or outcomes? Prudence says review actions, reward outcomes...pls check what happens in your teams and other teams you liase with. LInk it back to the GOALS this pls. Write down the departments who are dependant on you and departments whom you depend upon. Ask you know what their goals are? If you do not the best policy.

Sum it up: What do you review?

Thirdly, leadership. the largely abused word...Is your senior management aware of these issues at the ground? Are they talking about global stratgies, when people below are fighting fires continuously and consistently?

Sum it up: Leadership..where is it focussed? Is there a balance between internal and external?

Fourthly, the SNAFU Managers...Snafu does not need explanation..though if you want pls look up the net....These are managers, who push people to get things done, and avoid the pain of handling issues, which surface everytime....afterall solving a problem is sure a lot of pain and effort...they do not stop to check for the issues...why not? Stopping by to check issues...will lessen my productivity...short sightedness. Are managers qualified to manage people? For all the management qualifications we all one teaches people management better than experience. Am sure you agree. In the current economy, we develop managers too quickly, even if they are not ready...Longivity of tenure in an organisation sometimes, seem to be reason for people growing...cos good performers would leave anyway...

But, the point is what gets projected to the management? Results or issues with methods to handle them? Most often, managers do prefer to paint a rosy picture always..(Situation Normal bit)...afterall managers need not be evangelists, but effective. A manager sharing his issues openly is considered ineffective..but a manager sharing the issues and also validating his methods with his supervisors and peers is considered to be more proactive and willing to learn. Are our managers willing to learn? If you are saying yes, check 1: Do you have the same problem arising again and again? Check2: is The team is polarised on your manager?..

sum it up: Managers..What are they doing? Solving issues or trying to be popular?

Hence, fighting the enemy within an organisation is all about setting the right goals and linking them to all teams, reviewing them properly, Leading through execution excellence and managing issues well.....

Lets stop fighting enemies a culture to fight the market forces...all the best to al of us..and as HR professionals hunt for such issues to be escalated and handled properly..

16th February 2006 From India, Mumbai
Well you seemed to have written it with lot of experience and emotions :lol: ....but i guess this is right not just with your organization but with industries across.if you ask the back-end they would say that the client facing roles work for client not for the org!!! :wink:
I guess its like the husband and wife tiff..niether can you leave it nor can you live with it!!!!no offence meant :no:
surely enjoyed reading the article....
All the best
16th February 2006
oops!!!!!!!! its got nothing to do with my organisation.....its got to do with the client organisation i had worked with..
i guess its right in saying its like the husband and wife well they are committed makes all the difference in making the marriage work..
thanks for your views!!
16th February 2006 From India, Mumbai
dear bala,

:lol: :( :oops:

passed thru a range of emotions on reading your mail.

most of your observations are bang on.

i just have a couple of points to contribute

unfortunately both are global :o points

1) its all about the metrics !

what are your metrics based on. you cant have your vision, goal, strategy and all those big words based on a long term perspective and have the metrics(kra s) based on a short term perspective.

eg. most org. have customer centred strategy (customer lifetime value maximization) but product centred metrics. (meet monthly targets/billing etc).

lets not talk about the metrics of admin/accnts :)

interesting exercise[/b]

draw a graph with long term perspective on the x axis and short term perspective on the y axis.

now plot the actions of the job profiles (sales, mktg, accounts etc) on the graph.lets make this simple , if the action is on the short term gain perspective , plot that function in the 4th quadrant, close to the y axis

Q1- low short term, low long term

Q2- low short term, high long term

Q3- high short term, high long term

Q4- high short term, low long term.

Do the same for metrics(KRA)

and for job or function role

Your mention goals set me thinking.

Most times goals are just a set of well strung words with more attention spent on the beauty of the words rather than on the connecting thread.

as somebody once said, a goal is like einstein's famous equation of e=mc2. everybody knows it , but nobody understands what it means.

let us take the football analogy . if a goal in football is understood as shooting in to a goal post,

and the acounts/admin try the level best to put the ball in to their own post.

sounds far fetched , but tell me what are the metrics on which accounts is measured on.

is there any system or company which has an accounting metric related to company growth. by the way that itself is an oxymoron, since accounts is about past performance and a little bit of present performance, whereas growth is about the future.

and the second point

2) is HR like the Indian President- no real powers, but the masthead nevertheless

as i said these are global points

how can you or I make a change



16th February 2006
Good article. :) :lol:
My feedbacks,

1. Article is interesting to read. Easy also, except for CYA. :D

2. I feel that you have given your ideas free of cost. If the HR head of your client company sees it he may use it without cosulting you. It may lead to either a more complex situation if used improperly or would solve the problem if used right. :roll: :roll:

I could think this much. Not above this. :shock:
E.R.Vishanth Ragunanth
17th February 2006
dear balaji,

interesting article :lol: took some time for the realities to sink in..... :?: thought would share a story of the six blind men with all..... though we have read the same many times, presenting a new twist to the tale :twisted:

the blind men and the elephant

There are various versions of the story of the blind men and the elephant. The blind men and the elephant is a legend that appears in different cultures - notably China, Africa and India - and the tale dates back thousands of years. Some versions of the story feature three blind men, others five or six, but the message is always the same. Here's a story of the six blind men and the elephant:

Six blind men were discussing exactly what they believed an elephant to be, since each had heard how strange the creature was, yet none had ever seen one before. So the blind men agreed to find an elephant and discover what the animal was really like.

It didn't take the blind men long to find an elephant at a nearby market.

The first blind man approached the beast and felt the animal's firm flat side. "It seems to me that the elephant is just like a wall," he said to his friends.

The second blind man reached out and touched one of the elephant's tusks. "No, this is round and smooth and sharp - the elephant is like a spear."

Intrigued, the third blind man stepped up to the elephant and touched its trunk. "Well, I can't agree with either of you; I feel a squirming writhing thing - surely the elephant is just like a snake."

The fourth blind man was of course by now quite puzzled. So he reached out, and felt the elephant's leg. "You are all talking complete nonsense," he said, "because clearly the elephant is just like a tree."

Utterly confused, the fifth blind man stepped forward and grabbed one of the elephant's ears. "You must all be mad - an elephant is exactly like a fan."

Duly, the sixth man approached, and, holding the beast's tail, disagreed again. "It's nothing like any of your descriptions - the elephant is just like a rope."

And all six blind men continued to argue, based on their own particular experiences, as to what they thought an elephant was like. It was an argument that they were never able to resolve. Each of them was concerned only with their own idea. None of them had the full picture, and none could see any of the other's point of view. Each man saw the elephant as something quite different, and while in part each blind man was right, none was wholly correct.

There is never just one way to look at something - there are always different perspectives, meanings, and perceptions, depending on who is looking.

Well let’s now compare the six blind men to the six most importance functions of any organization (functions / departments may change depending upon the industry):

1. Management

2. Marketing

3. Sales

4. Engineering / Development

5. Manufacturing

6. Maintenance / Customer Service

With the Elephant being the customer.

The perception of various departments / functions change according to what they see (how they see / what they are shown) / how they feel (how they are made to feel) / how they hear (what they are made to hear) and meanings are attached to the same, hence the failure to understand the Elephant.

In sharp contrast: A well known story illustrates the point:

A group of US Senators were visiting NASA at the time when funding was under threat. One Senator asked a man cleaning the floor "So what are you doing here?" The man answered, "I'm here putting a man on the Moon!"

Not to say that NASA has not had its share of failures, but have bounced back after each and every failure of theirs because of their people identifying and associating their roles with that of the organizations purpose.

To say the least, the philosophy of NASA is defined by their 5 PILLARS:


STRATEGIC ALIGNEMENT NASA aligns human capital to

support the vision and accomplish the

Agency’s mission and goals.

STRATEGIC COMPETENCIES NASA recruits, acquires, and retains a

diverse workforce with world-class

capabilities in strategic competencies

needed for all components of its mission.

LEARNING NASA promotes a knowledge-sharing

culture and a climate of openness,

continuous learning and improvement.

PERFORMANCE CULTURE NASA creates a culture that focuses on

results, motivates employees to

perform, and ensures fairness in the


LEADERSHIP NASA ensures it has leaders who are

adaptable; who inspire, motivate, and

guide others towards goals; who mentor

and challenge the workforce; and who

demonstrate high standards of

honesty, integrity, trust, openness,

and respect.

How closely do your people identify and associate their own roles with your organizational purpose?: an answer to this would roll the RED carpet of success for any organization.
20th February 2006
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