Monday, April 27, 2009

One Being Able to Drive Change

Dear students, most of you will try to drive change in organizations you will work for. You will find that any change, however small or trivial it may be, will be met with the fiercest of resistance. The following is my takeaway from a recent experience I had at change management.

·     To drive change, first be a part of the system. An outsider or a relative newcomer will face a lot of inertia.

·      Be interested “in people” genuinely. Genuinely is the keyword. An organization is people working together. If you don’t care for them, you don’t care for the organization. Appreciate them, compliment them. I am sure you will find enough to compliment in any one if you choose to look for it.

·      Don’t be judgmental. The tendency to be so it seems is natural. Even if you have judged someone, do not be week to let that judgment affect your behavior negatively. Even if someone is incompetent according to you, do your best not to make your judgment obvious. If you do that, you will loose audience of even the ones you consider competent.

·      Try to be less “interesting”. The tendency to “seem” interesting expresses itself in everyone. In some cases the expression is crass, without basis and sticks out like a sore thumb. But in many cases talented people who “despise” attention seekers may do just that in more subtle ways. Simply put, if you want to be a real hero, don’t try to look like one!

·      Don’t be violent. Violence is not only physical. If you are deriding someone in a meeting, you are indulging in what is called “emotional” violence. You know how we react when we see someone trying to physically attack us. We go defensive, don’t we? Now the same thing will happen when someone’s ego and self image is under attack. You need to be more cautious with the more experienced and senior people in your team.

·      Learn to take criticism. Don’t react. Respond. Take special care if you have a tendency to get emotionally involved with work and have a tendency to “overreact”. Till today no one has been able to achieve “behavioral change” by force.

In the end, remember change needs leadership and leadership is always a derivative of “leadership of thoughts”. If you are negative and defensive most of the times, you will never be successful as a leader and if you do not lead, don’t expect to drive change.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Teaching in Slowdown

A recent seminar on “Marketing in a Slowdown” triggered a thought, “What about teaching in a slowdown?” As faculty in a business school, do we even need to ask ourselves this question? Is it necessary to modify my actions as a faculty only because of the now hackneyed global economic crisis?

I think so! So what can we do??? Let us see………


Keep the Morale Up

I am sure the worry bug will have bitten most of us by now! Consider this that the students listening to my eloquent exposition on global strategy is scared that she may not land up a job and even worse may not bag one at all. In such a case, my words, demeanor and actions in the class is definitely either add to their anxiety or if I am sensible, moderate their fears.

In this case the biggest disservice I could do would be to let my anxieties add to their fears. I guess, it will be worthwhile if I and my colleagues consider this before stepping into a classroom.

Realistic but Ambitious

They came to us because they were ambitious. We promised them the sky and made them pay for it. The number of jobs and the CTC figures being offered to management graduates is on the wane. Even the IIMs and ISBs of the world have had to face this unfortunate situation.

Will it not them become my responsibility as a faculty to keep talking to my students and explain the cyclical nature of business and the existing downturn. Of course we al do that but do we consider the impact of our “technical” explanations on young impressionable minds???

Can we find some way of moderating their expectations but nurture their ambitious spirit??


Value of “Value”

The word “value” is perhaps the most important yet most underrated concept in B schools. When we come across students expecting the heavens when their skill sets and abilities may not justify it, we should know that we erred on two counts:

1.      We have not made them “value creators”.

2.      We have not explained the concept of value to them.



That is where the answer may lie. Students are incredible packages of bundled energy, ambitions, insecurities, confusions and fears. It really is a no brainer to say that we better get talking to them if we are really serious about them developing the right attitude. At least what we think is the right attitude. In the absence of our talking to them, they will talk to others and we may never know what the “others” might give them as inputs! Anyhow we know what credibility they attach something to what you and me might say as compared to what an unemployed senior might tell them!!


Can I do All This??

Now to the bottom line.

Do I, as a faculty have enough knowledge, competence and ability to actually control my classroom sessions to reflect the macroeconomic climate of the markets?? Do I have enough control over myself to adapt my behaviour to maximise chances of my students achieving “their” goals??

Let us begin the effort by believing, “I Do!!”