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What’s the buzz?

A lot can be said about the organisation by sensing the mood that prevails within or by determining the topics that dominate conversation between team-members.

I mentioned walking into a training centre recently and instantly feeling the energy within – everyone was busy doing their job, no time for idle chatter and most importantly each employee seemed to know what had to be done.

Just a day later I visited a swank office in town – the lady at the reception was playing Solitaire to while away time in the post-lunch lull and seeing me enter she made a desperate attempt to turn the screen away from me. The Manager I had gone over to meet was discussing a weekend recreation activity with his peer. Through the glass that separated the reception area from the work area I could see a few members of the staff, away from the work-station, laughing over some joke. While it extremely likely that they were all taking a breather before getting into action once again what are the chances that everyone in the organisation had decided to take a break just before I stepped in.

The leader has a big role to play in this – creating the right ambience and seeding the right topics for discussion, during work hours, are big ticket agenda items for the person in the corner office.

There is an age old Sanskrit saying “Yatha Raja, thatha Praja!” (“As the Ruler so the Ruled!” or the King’s actions and behaviour are good indicators of those of his citizens.)

If the Leader sets a very professional work culture which is based on processes, integrity and Customer Focus the team-members would take the cue and follow such practices.

If the leader applies pressure and resorts to using harsh language while dealing with his direct reports they in turn would use such methods with their own subordinates. A Manager who is not present in office on time and not known to keep his appointments would find such behaviour resonating through his team too. And one usually finds such leaders trying to impose strictures on his team for not following the processes he flouts – he expects them to report on time while most times he would not be present at the appointed hour.

Professional Business Managers and Functional Head follow the practices they expect the team to follow:

– They keep notes and remind people about his expectations

– They respond on schedule and expect the same from others

– Business is their focus and they try to understand it the details – it isn’t superfluous interest

– They roll up shirt-sleeves and get involved in the nitty – gritties

– They visit customers regularly and try to understand the market from close quarters

– Promises are kept and they have a good reason for not being able to fulfil any promised ones

– Their reviews are balanced and end with a proper corrective action plan

– They do not play favourites and don’t favour anyone unduly

– Performers and achievers get special attention from them

– They do not have patience for people who refuse to learn

– They spend time training and coaching team-members

– Small talk is kept to minimum and it happens only after business gets done

– They ignore the politics – but Managers who cause it are asked to deal with it professionally

If this is standard practice then business takes place in an atmosphere that is challenging, open and action focused – there is no time for small talk and there is very little reason for politics. The team soon realizes that instead of wasting time speaking behind closed doors or bitching about the boss in coffee shops its best to present the issue to the person directly and get the matter resolved.

When the buzz in the office is business oriented the organisation prospers!

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  1. Jamy
    June 1, 2012 at 12:58 am

    Jay, it is important to note that in a lot of organisations that so blatantly display signs of complacency, a new manager who tries to change old set habits in dinosaurs always has to face a lot of resistance before things change for the better; that is when the no favouritism, no nonsense attitude should come to the forefront and nothing else should matter because your sole aim would be get to maximum productivity and efficiency which results in Customer Satisfaction, Max profitability, Top Quality etc depending upon which industry you belong to. My sincere thoughts!!

    • JayadevM
      June 1, 2012 at 3:22 am

      Hi Jamy,

      You are right! It’s tough to get people to change. So the change-agent, in addition to laying down the new business objectives and rules of engagement, has to create a compelling picture of the need for change and the benefits that accrue from it. He has to get involved fully in the early stages and recognise/appreciate the early gains. If this is done in an atmosphere that’s non-vindictive (focusing only on the gains) others would soon join in.

      Its best not to expect anyone to buy-in at first, but discover the points of least resistance and make a dent.

  2. PARAMESWARAN
    June 1, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Quite true, Man. But walking the talk is easily said.

    • JayadevM
      June 1, 2012 at 11:30 am

      Walking the talk is the toughest part!

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