This tree is uniquely shaped and there is always a reason to be…
There is much in the pattern. With angles that self-balance. Supported in the shaping. To survive the storm. Swaying in the wind. So full of spaces in between To evolve and to grow. With confidence of connection Rooted in a solid foundation. The tree find its own flow Paving the pathway Manifesting its uniqueness. It finds its purpose of being.
Likewise to an organization That grows steadfast in trust In strength of the structure. Spreading its wings in faith
For when the roots are strong And potential is nurtured In valuing the roots In acceptance of the new… There is freedom to expand. With fresh perspective at play Every leader owns an angle towards sustainability. Great leaders may pitch great angles of perspective. But a great team is formed by great people. Like every living part of a tree is significant to the whole tree. Every individual is valuable to the organization. Every perspective matters to the cohesive whole.
A great read by my friend Ali Anani prompted me to write this post.
So much wisdom from nature in every form if we choose to see.
One of the common concerns of any scaling team is that while the stakeholders ensure themselves with a great set of leadership and they in turn recruit a battalion of teams under them to do the work, there is one lacuna…the chaos and confusion in the middle management!
The disenchanted middle management scenario is a result of widening gaps in communication and connection between the managers and themselves.
Often, great work done by the team goes without credit, buried under the hierarchy structure and lack of appreciation.
Second, despite ability in the teams and readiness to accomplish good work, there is a lot of confusion about what to do as there is no clarity passed on to them from their managers.
It is clearly indicative of how important it is for the leadership team to share the purpose of why they are doing what they do…and how the message needs to be passed on with the same passion to every member of the teams, no matter the number of layers adding up in the middle.
This is how you reinstate ownership and accountability, which is paramount to the efficiency of the teams.
Unfortunately, much of what is conveyed to the managers from the top in terms of the purpose is typically withheld from teams, for the manager may not personally value the significance of the message for teams reporting to them to understand. It becomes less and less significant in their discussions. And that is where a gamut of internal communications issues show up.
What will you do
When you do not have a purpose
You stop steering…
As there is no winds of motivation to sail your course.
In the case of the middle managers sandwiched in between, they soon have no sense of purpose, they are frequently found working in circles without direction.
They may seem busy doing mundane chores to fill their workdays, and go back home every day a little more disengaged and disconnected with the system.
In my professional career as a Consultant & having been involved in the organizational development up close, I have encountered such scenarios where the value of transparency in teams in their shared work as well as the vision & purpose of the leader is regularly lost in the daily rut of routine. Between filling forms and answering mails, much of the work today has become impersonal.
I believe the role of the middle management is crucial in managing change, for they can bridge the gap between expectations from the strategic objectives and key results set from the top to match with the speed and efficiency of actual day-to-day activities’ integration.
An engaged, informed, and knowledgeable middle management would mean a lot to the stability of a growing organization. It is a huge balancing act between managing to sustain through the changes and managing policies practices and procedures ensuring compliance and come away stronger.
It is important for the key stakeholders to have a conversation that sets clarity on the value for the middle management in the system and expectations from them.
They need to know how much interconnected they actually are in driving changes. They also need to become more self-aware and understand the intricacies of working beyond biases and prejudices that may come along while they understand the power structure of their respective organization.
Beyond good communication skills, they will have to develop their expertise in networking with their seniors as well as their teams.
The responsibility on the middle management is demanding as the role is expanding to include the implementation of changes in the system as well as managing the cultural changes.
This can happen best when the senior management is aware of the challenges faced by the middle management, like time in planning to execution. They can best help fasten this process by direction support and feedbacks while realizing the strategic value of the middle managers.
Every level of management is intrinsically interwoven and important to the whole. In recognizing their individual strengths as well working in the spirit of collaboration, teams begin to evolve.
What do you think of the prevailing practices at work?
Life and Living soulful stories share that come my way…
John D Rockfeller was once the richest man in the world. The first billionaire in the world. By age 25, he controlled one of the largest oil refineries in the US. By age 31, he had become the world’s largest oil refiner. By age 38, he commanded 90% of the oil refined in the U.S. By 50, he was the richest man in the country. As a young man, every decision, attitude, and relationship was tailored to create his personal power and wealth.
But at the age of 53, he became ill. His entire body became racked with pain and he lost all of his hair. In complete agony, the world’s only billionaire could buy anything he wanted, but he could only digest soup and crackers. An associate wrote, He could not sleep, would not smile and nothing in life meant anything to him. His personal, highly skilled physicians predicted he would die within a year. That year passed agonizingly slowly.
As he approached death he awoke one morning with the vague realisation of not being able to take any of his wealth with him into the next world. The man who could control the business world suddenly realized he was not in control of his own life. He was left with a choice.
He called his attorneys, accountants, and managers and announced that he wanted to channel his Assets to Hospitals, Research, and Charity work. John D. Rockefeller established his Foundation. This new direction eventually led to the discovery of penicillin, cures for malaria, tuberculosis and diphtheria.But perhaps the most amazing part of Rockefeller’s story is that the moment he began to give back a portion of all that he had earned, his body’s chemistry was altered so significantly that he got better. It looked as if he would die at 53 but he lived to be 98. Rockefeller learned gratitude and gave back the vast majority of his wealth. Doing so made him whole. It is one thing to be healed. It is another to be made whole.
Before his death, he wrote this in his dairy, “The Supreme Energy taught me, that everything belongs to Him and I am only a channel to comply his wishes.My life has been one long, happy holiday;Full of work and full of play I dropped the worry on the way and God was good to me every day.”
If you are in a position of leadership and influence, consider it your responsibility to keep your team motivated consistently.
Every career experience is deeply significant in understanding and expanding your vision. As a Consultant & Mentor, my years as a Ballroom Dance Educator & Trainer have been truly insightful in understanding teamwork and collaboration and the values of direction and motivation from a leadership perspective in team performance.
Here are a few tips to manage & motivate your team.
Attitude: A team is a set of individuals who are meant to align towards a vision and mission. Start of by getting the hiring process right. Hire the people with the right attitude.
Connection : Begin to connect with your team with genuine interest in their work plan, issues and tasks at hand. You are more likely to understand the pain points, their strengths and find proper resolutions
Trust building : Building trust in your team starts with a leader who knows when to engage and when to back off. Trust creates responsibility and makes team members accountable.
Safety : A team that is ensured, mental, physical, social, environmental safety feels well-supported. Understand how important it is for every member to sense the safety so that your team can take steps with confidence.
Respect: Give respect to get respect. Create a platform to collaborate without character assaults and biased opinions.Always remember there is the benefit of doubt.
Non-judgmental : Avoid & Reduce personal bias and judgements in assumptions from affecting your team. Be inclusive and create a diversity in the team such that it becomes a source of strength.
Attention: Care to pay attention and nurture your team. Be available and wholly present to guide, mentor your teams through their tasks and issues. But reduce dependencies.
Appreciation: Last but not the least care to celebrate their small & large wins, take time to appreciate the good work.
A Chinese business man was thinking whom to hand over his business out of his 3 sons. He thought of a way to find their talent. He told his sons he, who sells more combs to the buddhist monastery will be the one who will head his business. Initially the sons were perplexed how to sell combs to the monks who do not grow hair. After the specific time given to them, father called his sons to know about their achievements. First one told I sold 2 combs. How asked the father. I told them the comb can be used to scratch their backs. 2 monks bought it.
Well. What about you , father asked the next one. I sold 10 combs. How asked the surprised father. I told the monastery. that the people visit with dishevelled hair because of the strong winds on the way which is a disrespect to lord Buddha. If they keep a mirror & some combs at the entrance it will help people. They agreed & bought 10 combs. The merchant praised his son .
Third son said I sold 1000 combs. The merchant was in awe. I went to the head monk n told since they receive a lot of donations, it would be a nice gesture, if they give something like a blessing to the donors. What can we give asked the head monk. I showed him the combs with Buddha’s sayings inscribed on it & said since they use comb everyday it will be a reminder of teachings every time they use. . He agreed & ordered for 1000 combs with Buddha’s teachings inscribed.
No need to guess who took over the business from father.
All will think it is impossible to sell combs to the monks.
In life also we may face certain impossible situations . If we become disheartened then it means we have accepted defeat.
The 3 sons showed us 3 different ways of thinking.
First one thought what other way the comb can be used n sold 2.
Second one thought who other than the monks can use the comb n thought of the visitors . He was able to sell 10.
But it was a one time sale n no further sale in these lines will work out.
The third son also thought on same lines like the second, but with a difference. He modified the product as a gift wiith Buddha’s blessings to the donors. With the increase of donors , his sale will also increase.
So never accept defeat or think that coming out of difficult situations is impossible, start thinking differently. Expand ur vision from different angles. Think to bring some small changes which will bring great results.
No one to buy tomatoes, dumped in garbage. No price for cabbage. Used as manure in fields Bananas , radish thrown on the streets . We read many such news.
The knowledge we have in farming, we don’t have in business. Pickles, chips, jam dried vegetables, so many other ways to make them profitable. Instead of throwing or wasting, think what else use it can be put into. Learn to approach the correct persons. , through co operative farming or combined business.
Learn to change impossible situations to positive opportunities.
With patience , faith, hardwork n vigour if u start working , the impossible situation will become the foundation for a future big success.
Never bow down to initial negativities or accept defeat.
Expand your vision & focus.
Live with hope & positivity.
(Translated from a Tamil forward by my mother Anjana.)
As an employer, recruiting the right people for the job is extremely crucial for a successful recruitment.
While hiring Your degrees may not matter that much As much as… Your integrity, sense of ownership and dedication at work. Yes, the employers are seeking all of you, beyond the certifications Your drive, your ability & your commitment Is visible in all that you say & do.
For it truly does not matter where you come from or what you know, What matters is what you do with what you know.
Build the self to be aware, empathic and emotionally intelligent beyond your degrees and specialization.
For even if degrees get you the job It is your ability & adaptability that keeps you there.
Today the world is expanding rapidly on many fronts with shrinking communication time and reachability across the world… and the fact is, organizations are confronted with a multigenerational workplace.
Values and beliefs that was so far held by the world are finding new definitions and for many its difficult to catch up with the changing trends. New words of communication are coined every day and the different generations suddenly find themselves alien to each other.
For organizations to acclimatize to a changing world, the old patterns of thoughts and mindsets need fresh perspective…
Time and again a revision of what’s redundant or what cannot work in a fast moving world needs identification but with discernment as there is much wisdom garnered in the experiences of life and living.
Here are 6 A’s worth imbibing in work places to sustain teams and evolve for the better.
Accept there is a place for every one… be inclusive of the diversity… Accept that the differences are what is unique to the person and teams need people with diverse intelligence to take it to the next level. Every stage comes along with some learnings.
Acknowledge the value of interdependence at work strengthening a culture of inclusiveness. Importance of co-operation in collaborative work cannot be stressed enough.
Allow the expression of new ideas, suggestions and let it find listening ears no matter which team or who it comes from.
Appreciate and celebrate the work done, even the little wins help to motivate the team. Appreciation is an evolved method of correction.
Align the set of achievable goals of teams with the mission & vision of the organization. More the alignment the faster and easier the channelling of communication by maintaining open communication greater the chance of successful endeavors.
Accountability is being accountable about to being able take responsibility at all times and own it.
As a Consultant with a deep interest in Wellness, at work this is what I help facilitate day in and out especially so, in these uncertain times.
From applications of art and movements to creating space for dialogues to understand shifting mindsets & perspectives I have been mentoring diverse teams at work places.
Every team afterall, is made of unique individuals but the issues faced as a team are often similar. As a result of interaction & the scope of work different patterns of team dynamics are created.
If you have been responsible to manage teams to collaborate effectively….
Do share what kind of challenges have cropped up in your teams and how have you managed them.
Whether at work or in family or socially we all may have encountered people who are extremely difficult in behavior to the point of putting people down, having arguments and fights in every interaction.
Often in the first meeting with another, within seconds our brain is gathering information creating its impressions on them and we seem to be convinced somehow on many things about the person. Our intuitive instincts comes to play .That is where our system involuntarily associates pieces of information and puts it all together. We may be right or wrong but that’s another story.
But the truth is we know how we feel about the person. Most importantly.
when we are put in a situation, we simply know, we cannot see eye to eye with the person at all and feel we just cannot handle them.
Our body often gets into a flight or fight mode . Our stress hormones increase and our nervous system is on an overdrive. This can be often a cause for major health issues in the long run.
Clearly we feel we are not equipped to handle such a person’s energy and we may come away angry or depressed in every meeting with such people.
It is time then to read more into the equation.In such moments of frustration one thing is very clear no matter what we say or do we cannot change the other person.
They could exhibit any of this range of behavior from being non cooperative, uninterested, dominating & aggressive dismissive, prejudiced, overpowering, controlling, overwhelming, angry , and even too powerful.
There is one thing however that is still within our abilities. If we cant change them then take a look at how we can change the way we perceive them as a threat to us. And why would we want to do that?
Well we owe it to ourselves. It is our body and it is the one that is getting affected in every such situation.
So what do we do when we have to deal with such difficult people?And what can we do to reset our system.
The truth is that it is not easy facing and encountering such an environment on a regular basis. Every thing said or done seems to backfire and there is unreasonable behavior and even simple communication seems to get difficult by the day.
An immediate countermeasure is that we start with taking deep breaths.
This shifts the bodily reactions and resets it from fear to relaxation. It actually works on calming our frayed nerves and easing the body inside out by reducing the state of panic and pressure on the body to react in such circumstances. Simply put, it distracts the mind and body to channelling the rhythm and flow of energy.
Secondly we take a moment to pause and rethink how we are addressing situations ourselves.
At times we are not very inclusive.
And perhaps may have unknowingly hurt someone by our own assumptions and actions.
We need to start with using, more of ‘us’ and less of’ you ‘ when we speak.
That way we show we are in it together.
Thirdly we need to disengage and keep healthy distance if possible with people that are negative and volatile. They are simply not worth the effort or time.
Choose to see if the situation is even worth engaging and indulging in.
Counting slowly to ten still works when situations are reactive, as it would give you time off to respond mindfully and space to assess the circumstances.
And lastly ensure we give the benefit of doubt and try seeing things from their perspective and check if perhaps we could be more reasonable.
Our abilities to observe us as part of process, will help in minimizing any misinterpretation on our part. That way we become more proactive than being negative about communicating with the person.
However,there are extreme scenarios at times, when we are faced with bullies who actually are very insecure within and may also perhaps have been victims at one point of time. We then need to adopt measures that ensure personal safety and that there are witnesses before interacting with them.
So let us always remember… we are the ones who need to take the necessary steps to change for ourselves because we are the ones who are getting affected.
For ultimately we owe it to ourselves and our health is most important to us.
A true story I came across which is worth reading…
“I boarded flight from Bangalore to Mumbai, economy class. I put my hand bag in overhead bin and took my aisle seat. There was an old person sitting next to me on the window seat.
I had a presentation in Mumbai, so took my documents and started going through them for the final time before the presentation. After 15–20 minutes I was done with my documents, so I put them away and started looking out of the window, and suddenly I looked at the face of this person sitting next to me. I thought I have seen him somewhere.
He was old, his face, the suit was not very expensive, and he was replying to some mails or going through some documents. I exactly don’t know. I noticed his shoes, they were average quality.
Something stuck me and I asked him:
*“Are you Mr. Narayana Murthy?”*
He looked at me, smiled and replied, *“Yes, I am.”*
I was shocked !
For one second I had no idea what to say next. I looked at him again. His shoes, his suit, his tie and his specs. Everything was average. This guy was worth $2.3 Billion and co-founded Infosys.
I always wanted to become super rich so that I can buy all the luxury and travel business class. He could buy the whole airlines and yet he was sitting next to me in economy class!
I again asked: *“Why are you travelling in economy class and not business class?”*
*“Do Business class people reach early?”*
And then introduced myself, “Hello sir! My name is ***** and I am a freelance corporate trainer and I work with many MNCs PAN India.”
He then put his phone away and started listening to me, he also asked few questions and answered the questions I asked. We both went down deep into the conversation until I asked a question which was about to change my life entirely.
*Sir, You are so successful and have made so many good decisions in your life. Is there something you regret?”*
He got intense look on his face, thought for a while and answered,
*“Sometimes my knee hurts, I should have taken better care of my body. When I was young I was so busy working that I never got time to take care of myself and now even if I want to work more, I can’t. My body doesn’t permit.”*
*“You are young. You are smart and ambitious but don’t repeat the mistake I made. Take proper care of your body and take proper rest. This is the only body you have got!”*
That day I learned two things, one that he told me and another that he showed me!”
Being rich is not about owning things.
I had got what I needed.
What a great and down to earth human being he is, no doubt he is so successful!
Subscription model successes and failures are a well-known story in the leading business enterprises ranging from entertainment to e-commerce & healthcare sectors. But often companies are flummoxed when it comes to retaining their existing subscription box model in time . It is certainly a challenge to keep it going!
Why they work in the first place?
They may work if there is perceived value and convenience to the customers. And for the company, if there is revenue generation through repeat sales.
Here is where intelligent pricing matters. ( ensure it feels like a good and worthy bundle for the price of one from the Customers perspective.)
Here are a few suggestions from a company perspective on reworking the Box model.
Work on building a long term relationship with existing customers.
Chalk a customer-centric approach.
At times the surprise element can backfire.
Call and build awareness of the products and its USP beforehand.
Use the Customers who are satisfied for referrals socially.
Innovations in service and delivery can help.
Let the Customers know the products are service-oriented and not sales oriented. It charges their emotions towards a sale.
Companies perhaps offer treats tickets offline events and give some coupons freebies or opportunities for them to be brand loyal.
Work on building a community of people who get a product to try at a discount or offer a discounted first-month price. Will be a great chance to understand market demand.
Increase the customers’ perception of the utility of the products by creating greater awareness.
When an online purchase is done
Offer a subscription box at the point of sale with an offer and an explanation of how the company is doing good for the world at large.
User growth may eventually decline in the case of predictive products.
Keep it fresh and interesting.
Make sure to check complacency from employees once the monthly boxes are shipped. As a company be genuinely interested to know if the box is making a positive difference to the customer. Insert a survey link or feedback suggestions for improving the service.
Initially, Customers often start off wanting to exact the full value of the price paid in terms of the products or services. Like fitness subscriptions and then there is a waning interest unless the customer is kept engaged.
One of the proven flaws of the model is that it is suitable for certain Business and not for others. Like it may work where there is a service or product that is needed continuously but not for once in a while kind of demand products.
With too many entrants and the overkill that is visibly overwhelming to customers
Business models often need to keep improving their presentation, content, services and products and try exceeding the expectations of their registered clients for retention. In an extremely competitive market scenario, this is can be a double-edged sword.
There may also be waning interest of existing subscribers due to a perceived lack of control over the products delivered to them.
Financially is it viable?
This is a necessary question that a business must consider from time to time.
As in time, the user may prefer to choose between models that offer other likewise or similar category products.
And prefer only one among many such models after evaluating the benefits.
While every individual is different,
Customers may find the company idea of piecemealing or compiling all together redundant and may prefer to buy a one-off product that they actually need.
As simply sending something to a person continuously may make the product less wanted or needed in time.
With too many subscription models in the market, Customers cannot be conned as they are aware of the gameplan due to existing and already functional models
So the ‘why the model is good to buy’ is important to a seller to know and convey to the client always.