Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Want to be a Good Leader? - "Lead by Example, Not by Extortion"!

I got a short message in my mobile phone today morning which says, " If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” This is the famous quote from former American President, John Quincy Adams. What a simple way of defining a " leader "! When we zoom in, it takes us to an interesting topic, " leading by example ".
As leaders, we have a choice either to lead by example or by extortion. Leadership by its nature bestows us with powers and many of us lead by enforcing the powers and influence we have. But we forget the fact that leadership by extortion don't make people to follow us but probably chase them away from us. When we set a good example through values, we illustrate the behavior we expect from others as they interact with each other and conduct their business.
We all have read the saying, "practice what you preach, do not preach what you do not practice". The statement explains it all when it comes to effectively leading by example. If we want to be efficient leaders, we need to “walk the talk” and not only “talk the talk”. Interestingly, there are two types of leaders: Those that lead by their words, and those who lead by their actions. The ones who lead by their actions are leaders who lead by example, or getting people to follow them based on what they do, and not what they tell others to do.
Let me share with you today an inspiring true story from the life of Mahatma Gandhi which tells us how important it is to lead by example. The story is about Mahatma Gandhi trying to counsel a child for removing a bad habit.
One day a lady came to Mahatma Gandhi with her 10 year old son. She told Gandhiji, " my son has a bad habit of eating a lot of jaggery ( a special kind of Indian sweet ). I have been telling him to reduce eating jaggery but he does not listen to me. Mahatma ji, the whole nation listens to you and you are a revered personality. I am sure my son too will follow your advice. Please tell him not to eat too much of jaggery."
Mahatma Gandhi thought for a while and asked the lady to bring her son again after a week. After a week , the lady again took her son to Mahatma. Mahatma Gandhi put his hand on the head of the boy and told him, "My dear child, don't eat jaggery too much. It can be harmful".
The conversation ended. The puzzled lady asked Mahatma, " Bappu, this was simple. You could have told him the same thing last week itself !! Why you made us come again after a week ?" Mahatma told the lady," I myself used to take jaggery till last week. I needed a weeks' time to quit eating jaggery so that I could counsel your son with conviction".
That's Mahatma Gandhi ! No wonder, he lead millions and walked our country to independence with his simple leadership style - leading by example! Many great leaders of the past walk the talk. Another example is Winston Churchill, who led his country to victory by uniting and inspiring the whole of Britain. The truth is, effective leadership does not come easy. An effective leader is someone who earns respect, not someone who demands it.
Paramahamsa Sri Nithyananda says, Leadership is not a quality. It is an experience that an individual who has undergone personal growth and transformation radiates. He says, Leadership is a state not a status. Most of us achieve the status of a leader, but not the state. State is totally different from status. Status comes from society. When he use the word 'state' he mean our inner space. Our inner space should be matured enough to handle the responsibility, which we assume.
The question is, how do we most effectively lead by example? No doubt, leading by example boosts morale, and it helps us gain a sense of control over those we are managing. When we are willing to get our hands dirty to show others what has to be done, we are not only making people respect us, but we are helping others learn skills that they will need to be better employees as well.
Let me take you through some simple tips which can help us to lead by example.
1) Think before we talk : Think before we speak or act. As a leader, our words and actions will be looked upon and criticized or emulated by others. People want to believe in their leaders.
2) Believe in ourselves : Believe in what we do and do what we love. If we don't believe in our goals, then convincing others that they should work towards them will be very hard.
3) Be fair & honest : Treat others as we would like them to treat us. If we treat others fairly and justly, we can expect that they will treat us the same. If we treat them unjustly, expect that they will treat us unfavorably. A good leader is honest and respectful.
4) Be pro-active : Create chances and be pro-active. Don't wait for opportunities to come to us. Being pro-active instead of reactive enables us to be ready for difficult situations and take advantage of positive circumstances.
5) Give our ears : Listen to others. Listening is a key communication tool. Showing others that we are interested in what they have to stay will help gain their respect. If they don't respect us, they won't want to follow our lead.
6) Decision making : Stay firm in our decisions. If we aren't committed to our decisions, we can't expect others to be committed to theirs.
7) Be a team player : Stand behind our team. If a team member makes a mistake, take the blame for the mistake. Don't point fingers. Figure out why the mistake was made and how it could be prevented in the future.
8) Be a role model : We have to speak the part, dress the part, act the part, smile, be appropriate and do not complain. Sounds difficult, but we have to build up our reputation as a strong and well balanced leader that others will want to emulate.
9) Be Positive : Be consistent and do so with a positive attitude. Being fair with everyone and if someone needs to be corrected for something then do so in private.
10) Take care of ourselves : Of course to be productive as a leader, we must take care of ourselves and find a healthy balance. That balance differs from one person to the next, so finding our own will be up to us. Take care of our mind, body and soul to create a positive person.
It is said that, great leadership takes strength of character and a firm commitment to do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason. Which means, doing what we say, when we say it. If our team can't trust us, we'll probably never lead them to greatness. I am sure, leading - and living - by example isn't as hard as it might sound. It's really the easiest path. If our team knows that we'll also do whatever we expect from them, they'll likely work hard to help us achieve our goals.
Remember, great leaders model how they want to be, to their people thus developing a level of relationship which is truly astounding - be ourselves, be natural and enjoy our work and our life - and be prepared to show it!
How about making our organization filled up with "inspired people" in an "inspiring atmosphere" led by an "inspirational leader"? Let's be a leader who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way - A leader who leads by example not by extortion!
Visit : winnerinyou.in

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mobile Phone - " The New External Human Organ ! "

A friend of mine recently quoted to me, he lost his Mobile phone for a while and till he got it back he felt as if he lost a vital body part ! Well, it's true with many of us, Mobile phones whether we like it or not has become a part of our body. If it's missing we feel isolated, If it's not ringing for a long time, we will check our phone, " something wrong? " No doubt, Mobile phone revolution is probably the most important tech development of the past two decades.

Incidentally, I started my Sales career in Mobile phone Industry during late 90's and it was really tough selling a Mobile phone connection those days since it was a concept selling. I still remember the then C.E.O of Escotel Mobile Communications Ltd., Mr.Manoj Kohli's words, " A day will come where our people will not be able to live their lives without Mobile phones " . Time proved it - we are addicted to Mobile phones and today with the advent of mobile phones and international connectivity, the world is indeed shrinking rather making " geography a history "!

It's true that mobile communication provides many benefits, including convenience, flexibility and personal security, but sometimes it can be intrusive to others. One of the biggest social issues with Mobile phones is privacy. The fact is, we have become so accustomed to using our phones for everyday tasks - talking to friends, running our business, keeping up to date with news, events etc. But we don't realize that, Mobile phones are at times a distraction for us and others. I fear, an epidemic of inconsiderate Mobile phone use has given the device a bad reputation.

At times, Mobile phones turn people into rude non-connective human beings. Text messaging, E-mail, Internet - Mobile phone capabilities are amazing, however, many people have forgotten their manners when they use Mobile phones. Look around - A Rude Mobile phone user is everywhere - driving in cars, walking on the street, in Cafes and Restaurants and even at the adjacent cubicle at work place.

We live in a time where, many of us need to answer calls when they come in, no matter where or when because people expect us to answer their calls. We even need to make calls no matter where or when because people are expecting us to be able to carry on our business no matter where we are. The fact is some people use their Mobile phones politely and effectively. But some need a helping hand. Often without realizing it, some phone owners alienate and irritate those around them by the way they use their Mobile phones.

Mobile phone rings in Cinema Theatres, Restaurants and other public places are really annoying the people around. On the other hand unsolicited calls from Telemarketing Executives have become a nuisance for every single Mobile phone user.

I guess it's time for us to use Mobile phones with certain degree of etiquette especially in places where we might appear impolite if we use or even when our Mobile phone rings. The underlying principle of any good manners is the thoughtful consideration of the interests and feelings of others. Given with the fact that, Mobile phone has become the most important business communication tool, we need to understand, if we don't set proper etiquette, it can lead to misunderstandings, bad impressions, anger and some times embarrassment.

In this article let me try to explore the Mobile phone etiquette, discovering that it is as often our unconscious actions that are bad manners, as our more obvious errors.

1. Know the basics : Be prepared when we answer the call or make a call - before we even touch the phone. Speak clearly that the other person can hear our voice properly. Always stick to the subject than wasting time beating around the bush. Most importantly, know how to use the equipment properly. Saying, " sorry, I haven't a clue how to use this phone " or cutting someone off mid-sentence are signs of incompetence.

2. Have presence of mind : Be always alert. Let's don't stay on the phone and ignore someone waiting to talk to us. Take a call only if it won't interrupt. Generally, don't accept calls during lunch, dinner, a movie or when we are in an important meeting. Excuse ourselves if we must take a call. Remember to carry on one conversation at a time. Let's don't attempt to talk on the phone and with another person simultaneously.

3. Have control when we talk in public places : Let's keep our volume under control. If we are a loud talker, then we will need to learn how to speak quietly on the phone. Remember, the whole world isn't interested in our phone conversation, so the less of it they can hear, the better ! Never speak on our phone in a public place while on speaker phone .Turn off our Mobile phone before entering Movie Theaters, Worship places, Restaurants, Public Transportation or any other place where it may be irritating and disruptive to others. If we don't wish to turn it off it's better to set our phone's ringer to vibration or silent mode.

4. Respect others time & privacy : Let's not make or take calls while we are out to dinner with others. It is so rude to be on the phone when we are at dinner with others. Think about how we would feel if someone invited us over to their house for dinner and then they proceed to talk on the phone throughout the whole dinner. It is also important that, we don't continuously check our phone while out with others. Checking our Mobile phone repeatedly while we are out with others will leave them feeling like we have something better to do. Another important thing, some people don't like to be photographed. When using a camera phone it’s important to respect the rights of others and not to intrude on their privacy.

5. Ring tone - Make it pleasant : We know unattended Mobile phones and left to ring out with annoying jingles, both cause major distractions especially in public places and offices. I read recently that, irritating Mobile phone rings have been voted the top ten workplace annoyances ! It is better to set the ring tone at a low level with a tune that is soft, gentle or put it in to vibration / silent mode in any situation like a Worship place, a Hospital or a School or a Meeting where a ringing sound would prove disturbing to other people.

6. One thing at a time - No Multi-Tasking : Among us, some people are better at juggling many tasks at the same time than others, but there are some things in life that deserve our full attention. The busy person multi-tasking at a desk can be a wonderful model of efficiency, handling - phone, keyboard, coffee cup and remote control all at the same time, but at other times, multi-tasking can be hazardous, rude and inefficient. Talking over phone and doing several things together will invite error in all the things we do and it's better to avoid it.

7. Switch off Mobile phone where it is prohibited to use : It goes without saying inside Aircraft it is mandatory to switch off our Mobile phones. We will almost certainly be reminded by the cabin crew, we must switch off our mobile phone since Aircraft contain electronic devices, some of which may be sensitive to interference. People are asked to switch off mobiles in some areas of Hospitals, as a precaution to avoid interference with sensitive equipment's. There could be several other places where the Mobile phones are prohibited to use, watch the board, follow the law !

8. Avoid Mobile phone while driving : It's said that Mobile phones can kill. No, I am not talking about frying our brain by constantly using it. I am talking about using our phones while driving. It can be a killer. People using Mobile phones while driving are much less attentive to the road and road conditions rather we can say they have one ear and eye on their conversation and one on the road ! Remember, it can kill them & us !

9. Time - No Mobile phone before it's time : The question is, do we really want to be accessible for anyone and everyone on a twenty-four/seven basis? The fact is, the more available we make ourselves; the more available everybody will anticipate us to be. By making ourselves available day in and day out, we create our own nightmare! It's better to fix the time when to turn the phone on or off. The Mobile phone will continue chasing us on all the time in all places regardless of the situation. Remember, we need some private time with our family with out the disturbance of calls.

Hope you feel that the above thoughtful use of our Mobile phone – or in other words the correct Mobile phone etiquette – is important both in considering others and helping to keep us and those around us happy and safe. I also feel it's time for the Mobile Service Operators to provide a leaflet on Mobile phone etiquette along with the regular Mobile phone user / service manual.

No doubt, worldwide the Mobile phone users are growing fast and today the Mobile phone is not just a communication gadget, but a Music System, a Digital Camera, a Mini Computer with Internet connectivity, and it's even a Television. All these features eliminates the need for carrying different gadgets and no wonder it has become an external human body part for many of us !

When the whole world is getting connected and more and more people are getting hooked to Mobile phones, don't you think it is important for us to realize that being unmannered isn't part of modernness? Let's abide by certain degree of etiquette, which will be really useful to us and our society. We can't let the Mobile phone etiquette to be a forgotten concept any more and we need to help every Mobile phone users to use it politely and effectively.

I am fully geared up to take that call, how about you?


Monday, April 13, 2009

Procrastination - " The Real Villain in Time Management "

Are you always short of time? Do you wish you had more than 24 hours in a day? Well, if you make a list of things which leads to your poor time management, you will find a monster in it - Procrastination!

Procrastination has become one of the biggest challenges for professionals and individuals alike in managing time. The word procrastination comes from the Latin word, ‘Pro’ meaning “in favour of” and ‘Cras’ meaning “tomorrow”. It is defined therefore as “The act or the habit of delaying or putting things off’. No doubt it is a one way ticket to stress, guilt and overwhelm.

Let me share a funny story I read which can be linked with procrastination and it's impact. It's the story of a turtle family. The family consists of Dad, Mom and the Baby turtle. The Baby turtle was very lazy and always postpones anything and everything assigned to him.

One day Mom, Dad and Baby turtle go on a picnic. When they arrive at the park, it appears that it’s about to rain. Mom turtle asks Baby turtle to run home and get an umbrella so that they can enjoy the picnic as planned, rain or shine.
Baby turtle as always said, " No I can't go, why don't you go and get it? ". Dad turtle got annoyed and gives the Baby turtle an angry look. With a pale face Baby turtle finally said, “If I go home and get the umbrella, do you promise you won't start lunch without me?” Mom turtle assures Baby turtle that they will wait for him before eating.
With this confirmation, Baby turtle leaves. Ten minutes go by and Baby turtle has not returned. An hour passes. A full day. Neither Mom or Dad turtle have eaten anything and become very hungry. They wonder what is taking Baby turtle so long, and hope he is okay.

Finally, Mom turtle says to Dad turtle, “Well, he hasn't come back yet. We might as well eat something.” At which point Baby turtle pokes his head out from behind a tree and screams, “If you eat, I won't go! I know you will do this, that's why I was hiding and watching what you will do! ”

Now, I know this is a silly story, but there is some important message in this story. The lesson is in the fact that Baby turtle reminds many of us and our habit of procrastination. His mom told him they would wait for him, but he chose to hide behind a tree and take rest. He wasted everyone’s time, and ruined the picnic that was planned, all because he was lazy and did not take the action required of him.

The question is how can we stop procrastination? If procrastination is a problem for us, it is important that we learn tools to handle our procrastination. Procrastination occurs when we are faced with too many decisions and are unable to complete matters of importance. There are many reasons why we avoid doing things, sometimes it seems strange that, we know what we have to do to be successful but we don't do it.

Mark Twain once said that, if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that it is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long! In his best seller book, " Eat That Frog", Brain Tracy talks about several ways to stop procrastination. He says, our " frog " is our biggest, " most important task ", the one we are most likely to procrastinate on if we don't do something about it. It might be the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on our life and results.

Hence the first rule of frog eating is this : if you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first! This is another way of saying that if we have two important tasks before us, start with the biggest, hardest, and most the important one first. The second rule of frog eating is: if we have to eat a live frog at all, it doesn't pay to sit and look at it for very long!

The key to happiness, satisfaction, great success and a wonderful feeling of personal power and effectiveness is for us to develop the habit of eating our frog first thing each day when we start work. Brian Tracy says this is a learnable skill and we can acquire it through practice. According to him here are the great ways to stop procrastinating and get more things done faster :

1. Set the Table : Decide exactly what we want. Write out our goals and objectives before we begin.
2. Plan every day in advance : Think on paper. Every minute we spend in planning can save our five or ten minutes in execution.
3. Apply the 80/20 rule to everything : 20% of our activities will account for 80% of our results. Always concentrate our efforts on that top 20%.
4. Practice creative procrastination : Since we can't do everything, we must learn to deliberately put off those tasks that are of low value so that we have enough time to do the few things that really count.
5. Focus on key result areas : Identify and determine those results that we absolutely, positively have to get to do our job well, and work on all day long.
6. The law of three : Identify the three things we do in our work that account for 90% of our contribution, and focus on getting them done before anything else.
7. Prepare thoroughly before we begin : Have everything we need at hand before we start. Assemble all papers, information, tools, work materials etc. we might require so we can get started and keep going.
8. Take it one oil barrel at a time : We can accomplish the biggest and most complicated job if we just complete it one step at a time.
9. Leverage our key skills : The more knowledgeable and skilled we become at our key tasks, the faster we start them and the sooner we get them done.
10. Identify our key constraints : Determine the bottlenecks or choke points, internal or external, that set the speed at which we achieve our most important goals, and focus on alleviating them.
11. Put the pressure on ourselves : Imagine that we have to leave town for a month, and work as if we had to get all our major tasks completed before we leave.
12. Motivate ourselves into action : Be our own cheer leader. Look for the good in every situation. Focus on solution than problem.
13. Get out of the technological time sinks : Use technology to improve the quality of our communications, but do not allow ourselves to become a slave to it.
14. Slice and dice the task : Break large, complex tasks down into bite-sized pieces, and then do just one small part of the task to get started.
15. Develop a sense of urgency : Make a habit of moving fast on our key tasks. Become known as a person who does things quickly and well.
I am sure you must have come across several articles teaching us how to stop procrastination. Sometimes, we follow it, and some other times we loose track after a certain time. It's all about being disciplined and strong willed regarding managing this crucial aspect of our life in an efficient way. The best way to do it is just start the new regime with immediate effect. Once we are successful in overcoming procrastination - " the villain in time management ", we will find more time at our disposal and we will emerge as a winner in every phase of our life.

In the epic " Mahabharatha ", addressing King Yudhishthira, Bhishma said, " the one that provides for the future, and the one who possesses the presence of mind, always enjoys happiness. The man of procrastination, however, is the looser ".

So unlike the Baby turtle, I'm on my way to get that umbrella, and I can't wait to return to a feast with those I love. I better get on it, as they are hungry and waiting on me!

How about you?
Visit : www.winnerinyou.in

Ways to stop procrastination adapted from: " Eat That Frog " By Brian Tracy

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

ANGER - " The Human Suicide Bomb! "

Do you get angry often in your life that makes you loose focus on what is right and wrong? Is there been a time that you failed to see reason because you were very angry at something or someone? Do you scream at your spouse / children / friends / subordinates when you are angry? Welcome to the party - you are one among millions who are victims of this much devastating emotional volatility which is as good as a human bomb ready to explode any time!

Unfortunately this deadly virus in us harm us badly - with stress, high blood pressure, relationship getting spoiled, at times even getting isolated among friends, colleagues & family. Anger makes us to forget who we are, what we are, to whom we are talking and why we are talking. Interestingly once we take out our anger by way of screaming at some one, most of us regret- "oh god i should have controlled my tongue!" We fail to understand anger is a double-edged sword that can inflict us with personal pain in the same way it does pain others.

Let me share a short story which I have read recently on how anger can damage us and others.This story is about a father and his son. The little boy had a bad temper and the father decided to find a solution for this. One day his father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.

Then it gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.

He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say " I'm sorry', the wound is still there."

A simple story- but is it pinching us some where? It will ! When we look back and count, many a times we have created lot of such holes and conveniently forgotten about it. Our inability to control our anger would have created several wounds in others and we never realize it !

"Speaking when angry" is one of the bad habit which holds us back from success says, Marshall Goldsmith in his bestseller book, " What Got You Here Won't Get You There ". Anger has its value as a management tool. But this emotional volatility is not the most reliable leadership tool. When we get angry, we are usually out of control. It's hard to lead people when we have lost control. We may think we have a handle on our temper, that we can use our spontaneous rages to manipulate and motivate people. But its very hard to predict how people will react to our anger.

The worst thing about anger is that, it restrain our ability to change. Once we get a reputation for emotional volatility, we are branded for life! If we are an angry leader, we have a special place in the minds of our colleagues. When they talk about us, the first words out of their mouth are, " I hear he has a temper "

Can we stop getting angry?

Its a billion dollar question ! Marshall Goldsmith tells us a good story in his book about a young farmer who was going upstream in his boat through a river to deliver his produce to the village. The young farmer was in a hurry. It was a hot day and he wanted to make his delivery and get home before dark. As he looked ahead, he spotted another boat, heading rapidly downstream towards his boat. This boat seemed to be making every effort to hit him. He rowed furiously to get out of the way, but it didn't seem to help.

He yelled at the other boat, " change direction, you idiot! You are going to hit me. The river is wide. Be careful!" His screaming was to no avail. The other boat hit his boat and he was enraged as he stood up and cried out to the other boat, " You moron! How could you manage to hit my boat in the middle of this wide river? What is wrong with you? "

As he looked at the other boat, he realized that there was no one in the other boat. He was screaming at an empty boat which was going downstream with the current!

The lesson is simple- There is never anyone in the other boat. When we are angry, we are screaming at an empty boat! All of us have people in our lives who dive us crazy, whom we hate with a passion. The best course of action for dealing with people like this is not let them make us angry. Getting angry doesn't improve the situation and life's too short to waste on feeling bad. It can only help us to loose our reputation as a person who gets always angry. When we are angry, if we keep our mouth shut, no one can ever know how we really feel !

There are thousands of books, articles and websites which tells us how to control the anger. But let me try to give the most simple and the best among all these I have read. Paul Deeds of Crystal Concepts suggests, when the anger runs through our blood streams, try doing the following :

1) Calm Ourselves : Take a deep breath, picture a relaxing scene we like and tell ourselves," relax,take it easy "

2) Think twice before we say anything : When angry, it is easy to start cursing or saying wild things to our target. Pause a while and think is it worth picking up this fight. Is it better to be silent?

3) Take a small walk : Walking makes our brain to release endorphins which gives a sense of well being and makes us relax.

4) Work with people who made us angry : Do this when we are calm to make sure that the person or people who have angered us will also be calm. This way, we will all be able to focus on the problems at hand.

5) Don't hold grudges : Be forgiving to the people who have angered us. This is a great way to show them that we are not angry anymore. But don't think that the other people will follow our example. It is unrealistic to think that all people should behave the same way like us.

6) Make an " Anger Log Book " : Write down all situations that set us off in an "anger logbook". This keeps track of our reactions to everyday situations. This is a very useful tool in keeping our anger in check as we can review the situation and try to solve it on a latter date.

7) Learn some relaxation skills : Learning relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercise or meditation or yoga can help us to control our anger.

8) Let go our anger : Now that we have our anger under control, we can start expressing it without damaging any relationships or properties. Always remember, anger can really damage our health and its better we let it go than bringing our blood pressure up.

So next time when you start to speak out of anger, better you look in the mirror. In every case you will find that the root of your rage is not "out there" but "in here". You are no more a human bomb who carries anger- the deadly weapon which is the biggest obstacle to our personal and professional success .

Keep smiling and welcome to the " anger free world " !


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Our Employees- " The Most Valuable Intangible Assets "

1st April - Corporate India is heading to yet another Financial Year beginning! Companies across India would have finished their stock taking (measuring the quantities of stock held) of raw materials, semi-finished goods, finished goods, capital goods etc. on 31st March. This stock will find a place in the last years Financial Statement as Closing Stock and current year Financial Statement as Opening Stock.

While starting the journey to another financial year, let me raise an interesting question to the Corporate world- along with the stock taking of our physical goods, don't you feel its important to take the stock of skills level of the most valuable asset in our Organization - the Human Asset?

It goes with out saying human asset is the key intangible asset for any organization. In today's dynamic world, it is the human assets and not the fixed or movable assets that differentiate any organization from its competitors! If so,during last financial year ending, how many of us have taken the stock of skills level of our human assets?
" Our ASSETS walk out of the door each evening. We have to make sure that they come back the next morning," says Narayana Murthy, Non-Executive Chairman and Chief Mentor of Infosys. In today’s knowledge economy, the single most important and powerful factor that differentiates one organization from another is the Human Resources (HR) or Human Assets.

While humans can be physically replaced, the skill-sets and knowledge of a person leaving an organization cannot be exactly replaced by the successor. It is widely held among business decision-makers that the skill of employees account for 85% of a company's assets. Employee skills determine the speed and success of organizations.

Most of our employees are hired to do specific functions based on current need. As the strategic direction of our organization changes, these employees (human assets) yield less and less. In other cases, employees hired for a specific function never have their full capabilities assessed or explored. Further, there is a general inability to quantify the capacity of human resources. Consequently, the organization cannot effectively determine when it has reached its affordable human asset capacity level.
It is also important for us to understand that the skill sets of our employees helped us to reach certain targets during the last financial year. It is obvious that we will set an ambitious target during this financial year probably with the same set of employees. Remember, the skills level of our people enabled us to reach here but is it enough to take us to the next level? Should we take the stock levels of skill sets they possess and address the gap if any? I believe performing a skill gap analysis will help organization to understand gaps in performance and possible areas for training and development.
Once the benchmark of critical and preferred competencies is established for the role, the employee and the manager can assess the level of proficiency for each competency. According to Joni Rose, a skill gap analyst, this can be accomplished using one, or preferably a combination, of the following techniques:

Performance Reviews
– a standard performance review usually includes a discussion between the employee and his or her manager to assess the competency proficiency. A strategy for professional development to allow the employee to improve their performance or improve their chances of a promotion can be included in the review.

– interviewing managers and employees with open ended questions allows for qualitative data to be accumulated. Resistant attitudes, misconceptions and other barriers to good performance may be revealed using this methodology that may not be revealed during a manager-employee performance review conversation.

Customer Feedback
– if customers or stakeholders can be surveyed or interviewed they can be a great source of feedback on the performance of a group of employees or individual employees.

Performance Tests
– certain skills can be tested using standardized tests and metrics can be measured to provide quantitative data (multiple choice, fill in the blank etc.) of performance levels.

– A checklist of operational standards can be made and employees can be checked against the list.

Once the skills gap have been identified, strategies for closing the gaps can be determined. Strategies include training (if a lack of knowledge is apparent), job role reassignment (transfers, portfolio changes), allocation of new resources, improvement of rewards and incentives, goal setting, or termination (if the fit can not be corrected by other means).
As our employees talent, ability, and grasp of the business improve, some group members are likely to realize their own high growth potential. We will probably suffer minor setbacks when losing a valuable team member to a better job or even another company. Be happy; this is one of the best indications that we are giving our employees important skills.
By helping employees to scale up their critical skills, we will be able to establish skills accountability and foster continuous learning - a key strength in today's marketplace of constantly changing environment. Lets create and promote a culture of knowledge and innovation in our organization, and respect Human Asset - the most valuable Intangible Asset.
While wishing you a successful financial year ahead, let me remind you to take the stock of skills level of your employees and fill the gap if any! Do visit my website www.winnerinyou.in for more!