Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Recognizing fear of Success

It's common for people to have fear of failure, but there is very little realization on the concept of fear of success. This may sound strange though, but most successful people who have had great run, suffer from this fear and that results into either slowing them in the later stages of career or profession, playing too defensive or losing direction of future.
 
Fear of success is tough one to diagnose unless probed deep and prolonged, as it may have bleak symptoms, barely comprehendible, but are strongly reflected in results. I have known a person who has grown with paucities and he refuses to grow up and acknowledge success. For a long time I have been wondering why he lives with self inflicted defensive cover in his communication, behavior and actions, till I probed for a long time to conclude he has built a protective cover to 'guard' against loss of what he has achieved so far. Most of such people are scared to commit to demands of a new benchmark and consider it as a 'drain' on them.
 
This in some way has equivalence to a new height record that a pole vaulter attempts, stretching his physical and mental limits. He tends to belittle and attach insignificance to a past record while focusing on what if he succeeds, partly mixing it up with fear of failure too.
 
Competencies play a strong role in keeping pace with success, if they are not overpowered by old sticky beliefs that a person learns to live with, hardening them to limits where they begin to harm. Even at organizational level, leadership suffering fear of success can inflict significant damage to the growth.
 
It is important not to lose sight of such fear and combat it to keep successes going for long.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Managing the malice of attrition


Organizations are increasingly worried about attrition these days. The best companies in Indian context still manage around 10% healthy attrition, while mediocre and poorly managed companies range between 10-30% attrition. The problem is even worse where employee attrition is high within few months or first year of on boarding.
 
The question is why people leave. Any one in his sane mind would feel at least a bit of natural affinity to his or her work and peers unless the situation is extremely bad. People do not make up their mind to quit very easily lest they have landed into a completely wrong job by accident which is a rare possibility.
 
Conventional wisdom says people leave their supervisors. My point is, whether it is fair to blame all of it on them. I would argue that there are many other triggers to the decision to leave. I have had an insight into companies that hire aggressively without a clear job description, a should do and must do document at the point of entry. I even know of organizations that do not open the real designation or assignment they are going to assign to a new joined unless he is on board and inducted in the system. The subsequent damage is caused when induction process is not taken seriously and huge burden of expectation is loaded to the new joined. Such companies become hunting ground for employment agencies that keep churning candidates and garnering commissions.
 
In my previous blog, I did write about the 3E conundrum, and that holds relevance to this issue too. The HR practice due to its immeasurability is just running after timelines to keep the recruitment's rolling and never gets empowered to be one potent force in keeping a check on attrition and its sources.
 
Legacy in organizations worsen the environment where the 'deep rooted’, 'seasoned veterans' resist and reject new thinking, and in the process, the new colleagues. The group dynamics in the organizations lead to dysfunctional stress, grapevine and distrust. Most surprising is the fact that for year together, top managements do not take cognizance of attrition, and take HR as one obligatory function to showcase their concern for people, or conforming to compliance.
 
I was seriously shocked to see a client of mine sitting on a 26% attrition, struggling to analyze the reasons for it through exit interview forms, that were never filled seriously and exiting employees never cited reasons beyond 'Personal' , 'better opportunity' or only in few 'compensation' reasons. The HR system and supervisors was never sensitive to probe into reasons as 'People come and go' was a common belief system in the organization where nearly one fourth of the organization was churning every year. Even the top management and HR directors kept wondering in absence to 'real feedback', as to how to control it to desirable levels.
 
To add to the woes was the bad word exiting employees spread about the non caring attitude of the company, damaging its long term ability to attract talent.
 
Both at organizational and managerial levels, sensitivity to people is utmost important awareness and quotient for 'emotional intelligence' is one area that requires consistent coaching effort to build sustainable , talent friendly, and fertile culture that helps innovation and growth. Sooner than later, it is advisable that organizations act on this, and fast.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The Business of busyness

How many minutes since many of us did not have a look at our cell phones in anticipation of a text or missed call, and if nothing, just flirting around with an app or two. Information around us is now desired to be consumed even before it is generated, and we expect to see something springing up as we swap channels on TV screens or our mailboxes. Most feel restless if they are away from cell phone network and mobile/computer screens.
Contemporary times are speeding up lifestyle by the day and the artificial connectivity is beginning to determine success and security for people. Productivity is percieved to be gadget dependent.  Social settings are undergoing change and it is frequent to see members of families stuck on screens than communicating at ease. Relationships are turning virtual and seem strong as long as they are wired. People travelling more or sometimes just appearing to be too occupied is in vogue. Those who are not, are seen as slow or getting out of the race, that, I call, rat race. Assigning a reason to miss a social occasion takes bandwidth and energy, yet managed efficiently by those who want to skip it to appear having paucity of time.
It is important to be efficient but not getting lives driven by technology and social trends. One of the clients I coach still operates most efficiently without a screen for last 20 years and feels much happier that way. His sense for work life balance is immaculate and he still manages to find time for what he desires to do. I strongly believe that it is important to be busy with real business and not with apparent busyness for the sake of seeming busy.