You are on page 1of 183

Do Not Dig A Grave And Bury Your Career



To my Grandson Raushan. With love from Nanaji


The path to your professional success starts with a critical look in the mirror . (HBR’S 10 MUST

READS On Managing Yourself).




  • C areer Paths, in conceptual terms, are nice two dimensional charts; in real life, careers move in all four dimensions, including time. There are times when a career goes yo-yo; times when careers move in hoola-hoop trajectories and times when careers go through skydiving thrills!

After three decades of trudging along a career path, there are many pearls of wisdom that one could squander before that amazing tribe: the bright-eyed young executive. I‘d rather let a tonne of bricks drop : whatever else or whoever else you believe, never ever believe the ad showing the young executive looking crisp and showering sparkle at the end of the day. Such young executives, if they exist at all, are surely headed for corporate execution.

My colleague Mr D N B Singh is an affectionate, humane person, as is evident

from his

initiative to help the young professional through this managerial ready-reckoner Do Not Dig A Grave And Bury Your Career.

The young professional will certainly benefit from this book. The senior executives also will find this book worth their while, if only as a reminder that history repeats itself, usually in a nasty way.

Remember what Mr Iacocca had said: Don‘t Get Mad, Get Even!

Former Chairman & Managing Director Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd.





xcellence in academics does not necessarily guarantee a brilliant career with quick progression. There are a number of corporate anecdotes, which recount sad tales of school firsts and gold medal winners who flounder miserably in their path up the corporate ladder.

Corporate success, in effect, is a smooth blend of academic brilliance with good leadership qualities that borders on effective interpersonal equations with a good dose of street smart common sense. People who can master facts, figures and theories have found it impossible to emerge as effective managers and team leaders.

Unfortunately, while there are a number of books on marketing management and strategies, very few spotlight the nuances of effective networking and inborn leadership skills.

Do Not Dig A Grave And Bury Your Career authored by Shri. D N B Singh, GM (HRD), Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., is one book that addresses this problem. The book is racy and will be beneficial to young graduates.

With the emergence of a global unprecedented competitiveness, it will take a lot of ingenuity and responsible application for professionals to deliver what organizations expect them to.

I am sure the above book, if studied closely and followed will go a long way in smoothening the road to success for young managers.

Former Vice Chancellor Anna University Chennai




T he challenge in training is the constant evolution of end user needs. In a competitive environment, corporates are under pressure to continuously change the way they do business.

Every business school is expected to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and work place skills. Every year we attract young, enthusiastic and highly impressionable students whose career-view many times stops at the compensation package offered in the campus selections. The peer pressure that makes them hunt for hefty packets many times leads them to a situation where they miss the woods for the trees. Our challenge is to convert academic earnest into intellectual talent.

Mr D N B Singh is in a unique position to help us in this process. He has trained students for a career in the corporate world. He has also had a 35 year experience in Sales, International Trade, Management Services, HRD and corporate training. With simple yet powerful imagery he takes the reader through the minefield of the corporate world. A road map for the uninitiated, the book reminds the reader that learning does not stop when you join a Company instead it is where you start learning in the first place. The book gives the job aspirant a view of what to expect, urges them to shed the inhibitions and mind-sets that come from overconfidence and youth attitudes.

Whether it is how to manage your boss, interpersonal relationships, emotional balance and self-esteem or career management, this book gives deep insights that are sure to remove the confusion in the minds of young aspirants. Cutting through mindless jargon, the book answers several searching questions in the individual values and how to remain ethical, professional and motivated. It reminds the reader that every new recruit is a brand which one has to position, promote and add value.

The emphasis is on bringing home to the young readers that their experiences may be negative

but not uncommon and by sharpening their skills they can handle challenging circumstances. The behavioural approach in the book is quite clear and the tone is both positive and peppy and directly connects to the personal investments that the individual needs to make for corporate success. While the chapter ‗Career Anchors‘ describes the various elements that hold a young professional in a company, ‗First Few Days‘ conditions you mentally for entering into an organization. The 11 examples in ‗Pains To Pleasures‘ is a fantastic ensemble of experiences.

Personally, I am proud of Mr D N B Singh‘s stint in the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management. He has been a singular source of inspiration to his students and his contribution to the institute continues in many ways. I would also recommend this book to people in corporate HRD as an answer to questions plaguing many companies. How to check attrition of good talent? What are the mind-sets of people who join companies? And finally what does good talent want and expect? Besides interesting reading the book is a ready reckoner and a must for a student pursuing a corporate career.

Chancellor Symbiosis Deemed University.



I am extremely pleased to note that Mr D N B Singh has authored a book Do Not Dig a Grave And Bury Your Career. I am sure that the book will be helpful to the new entrant in the field of business.

The book not only gives tips on what the company expects from its employees but also gives a clear road map of the needs, aspirations and dreams of your professional managers to pilot their careers through waters that at times may be shark infested.

This is an excellent reading for new entrants and middle level managers.

Prashanto Banerjee

Former Chairman & Managing Director

Gas Authority of India Limited

This book offers, for the first time, excellent insights to the newcomers. These insights reveal not just how to prepare themselves for joining the organization at the beginning of their careers, but also how to grow and succeed in them. In a very succinct language, the book describes the difficult aspects of corporate life, and exhorts people to return to basics. What is really unfortunate is that the fundamental truths we learn as children we forget as we race ahead with our careers.

This book is good not only for the beginners but to people at various steps and landings on the career staircase. And for those who are already climbing quickly on the staircase, it tells them how to get on to the elevator.

A good book for winners and potential winners.

Late Ranjan Acharya

Former Corporate Vice President (HRD)

Wipro Limited

In the course of starting a career, a young aspirant is bound to make mistakes. The book insists that college qualification is in no way a guarantee of success in the workplace. In fact, the dynamics of a real life situation or experience can never be matched by a largely assumptive static situation in a case study.

There are many spectators to the last minute dash in a 100 metres race at the Olympics, but very few can recount the agonies and ecstasies of that last metre in the race, better than the athlete himself. Sharing such ‗live on-the-job‘ experiences Mr D.N.B. Singh addresses these sensitive

areas with a lot of feelings and emotion. In his patently lucid style, he takes the reader on a journey into the mindscapes of various corporate protagonists, such as the Owner, the Boss, the Colleague,

etc. This book is a ―must have‖ toolkit to survive the vagaries of the corporate jungle.

A. K. Mitra

Former Director (HR)

Indian Oil

As a professional who has completed almost an year in the industry, I can say that this book is

a ‗must read‘ for all final year management students. It not only tells them what they are expected

to do when they join an organization, but more importantly, it provides them with a roadmap to


survive, succeed, win and become leaders of their organizations. It presents a very effective construct of HR and personal marketing basics to its readers. Brilliant and unparalleled insights into the secrets of getting it right, right from the beginning.

Nitin Bhushan

Sr. Exec. Corp. HRD

Wipro Limited



  • I must begin by acknowledging the contribution of 5000/5500young professionals who have provided me with a goldmine of data. I also wish to acknowledge the anecdotes and the authentic statements provided by them. The anecdotes are written in first person for effect but are not the statements of the author.

In the process of developing and designing my workshops, I have adopted the thoughts and experiences of numerous authors. In the absence of individual recall, I thank them collectively.

I have a deep sense of gratitude to the ambience of Indian Oil Corporationso positively growth oriented, encouraging and empowering. My colleagues who need a special mention include

S Senthil Kumar (they don‘t make people like you any more),

S Varadachari (brilliant in all respects), Sanat Misra (awesome competence), Rajkumar Dubey, Renuka Nair, R G Sriram, Harriet Gonsalves Jeyes, Blanche Sequeira, Debashish Roy Choudary (My cheerful helpmates), Renu Dante and Rama Rajan (they have extended unending help and incomparable hard work in the production of this book).

Shri Pasha Suryavanshi for his appropriate illustrations.

I must make a special mention of Shri. T J Mody, Vice President, Shri. Dilip Lathi, Senior Manager (Regional Project), and my editors Nitin, Shashi Aiyer, and Sudhesh Garu (Macmillan India Ltd.) Oh! What a Team!!

The support, absolute understanding and guidance of my wife Sukhbir, my daughter Karishma and son-in-law Munish. They were also my biggest critics.



n this era of knowledge management, organizations have necessarily to thrive on fresh

  • I knowledge, talents, skills and competence as they are the very ―lifeline of growth‖. Every organization therefore focuses its resources to impart training for developing the competence of their people, so that they can meet the challenges facing the Company. In Human Resource

Management, the journey starts with recruitment. It does not end with recruiting the right person for the right job, but the organization has the prime responsibility of bringing congruence between

the individual‘s aspirations and the Company‘s aspirations through proper career model for the

individual. Today, in the extremely competitive environment, the role of Human Resource Management is to ensure motivation, encouragement for everyone in the organization in order that individuals can identify themselves with the business processes. The sooner an organization achieves the above, the quicker will be the benefits that follow. In this context, this book Do Not Dig A Grave And Bury Your Career is of great relevance, particularly to youngsters who have very long years to go in organizational life.

Indian Oil‘s experience is truly unique. It is an organization that operates in a multifaceted competitive environment and achieves results for itself, and also ensures fulfilling of its commitment towards social responsibilities. This has been possible because of the moulding of right culture in the Company.

The chasm that emerges between the expectations of a young recruit and the realities of the workplace have been a source of several studies. Many attempts have been made to find out ways to make young talents decide on the right combination of professional growth and compensation packages. In this direction, this work of Mr D N B Singh stands out, among all other similar works.

Mr D N B Singh‘s assignments in Indian Oil, both as a Manager and a Trainer, gave him

ample opportunities to develop deep insights into the behavioural aspects of Management and employing them in real life situations.

In this book, he ‗weaves in‘ his considerable experience of over 20 years of watching,

interacting, mentoring and motivating the fresh talent entering Indian Industry. His experience in academics also gives him a dual perspective.

I wish him the very best and I am confident that he will continue to enthuse and motivate several more young people coming under his tutelage through such endeavours.


Chairman Former Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.




The Competitive World


(Your degree is only a piece of paper)


Hello Organization


Nagging Doubts


The First Few Days



Formative Years




You Are A Product


Qualified But Unskilled


Degrees Aren‘t Abilities


Not Equal To The Boss


{Your Responsibility is your Assignment, Your Assignment is your Responsibility}

Workplace Isn‘t College




Don‘t Criticize Or Complain


In A Big Hurry




Be A Achiever


A Winner Always


Be Resilient



Committed But Not Obsessed Quotations Be Competent

Quotations Look For Challenges Seek Special Assignments Quotations Staff Work: Prompt And Complete Move On From Mistakes Confront Creatively Managing Conflict


Principles of Success Quotations


(Ram Kumar )

{From Pain To Pleasure And Anchor Your Career} Present Yourself ‗Positioning‘ Yourself Marketing yourself the right Way Create Your Own Identity Project Yourself Project the good work Working Smart Socializing At Work Teaming Up Boss Management Interpersonal Relationships Practising Positive Politics Employee engagement (New Chapter) Self Management (New Chapter)





























Women Managers And the Glass Ceiling.


(new Chapter) Learn to Re- invent yourself at each stage


(new Chapter) Integrity at the work place and in personal life


Show character at work place


(new Chapter) Make your performance appraisal session Impactful and useful (new Chapter)


Can do, will do, but is there a better way (New Chapter)


Live by your values (New Chapter)





Self-esteem and Positive Performance A Part of LifeStress


Balance Your Emotions


Setting Goals


Career Management


What do I do if I get stuck in my career (New Chapter)


Coping And Managing Change




It would be more useful if you get hold of your attitude, your mindset and your approach and decide to become a Winner from wherever you are today. You may be a fresher or you may be a middle manager, your determined mindset is essential.

Live a life with direction Be fully focused.

The next few pages will help you take complete charge of your life your career and

your personal professional life……………

This Book is for Winners of today and Winners and Achievers of tomorrow.


Some thoughts for You as you inculcate the Winning instinct and Approach.

In today’s life we live we need the extra punch, the extra push, the extra ounce of effort to get a


Nothing comes automatically. Very little is given. Nothing prevents us from achieving what we want. Most of the time, what comes between success and us is our self.

We need to strive and strain. Keep at it all the time. Spare no efforts. And create energy to stretch so as to achieve stretched targets.

We need never to give up. We need to keep at it. We need to keep going. We need to struggle.

We need to fall, get up and start again. We need to succeed. If we fail, we need to learn from

our failures and mistakes and continue striving. We need to remember” Winners do not quit. Quitters do not win”. We need to win. We need never to quit.

We need to remember, “Tough times do not last. Tough individuals do”.

We need to remember”: …



can make our lives sublime.

footprints on the sands of time… ” ..

And departing, leave behind us,

We need to make impact. We need to create our brand in the workplace

We need to be effective, functional, useful and productive in our jobs

We need to commit. We need to contribute in our career

We need to remember how the Australian team never gives up, is always ready to fight till the last man and normally wins at the end of the day.

We need to remember the Grand Slam winners in the centre court fighting for each point. Recall how Boris Becker put the leopard to shame as he chased the ball for each point. And Won!!

We need to remember in the World Cup Football, how Ronaldo and Ronaldinho saw nothing in the over packed stadiums except the ball, the goal post. (And the opponents!)

Keep this in mind as you read the book, as you face success or Non Success ………… ..



I can.

I will.

I must, because I want to.

It may take time but I will get what I want. I am prepared to struggle, slog, sweat but never give up.

I will toil from morn to night and rest when I have reached my goal. Like Arjun I will only see the eye of the fish. I will reach my destination, covered with dust and blood ----but victorious- always. I can. I will. Because I am a winner, an achiever.









You want to reach the Corporate Top? stream.

Put the following in your blood

The essential attitude: I can succeed, I will succeed, I must succeed. I shall over come obstacles, hurdles and setbacks and meet with success.

The desire to excel: The deep down desire to excel, never to compromise, always seeking the top. Ready to give my best, ready to walk the extra mile to reach excellence.

The desire to produce the results:

The attitude of moving from excuses to results.

Excuses ensure I remain where I am while the whole world moves a head. Producing results ensures my movement my growth so that at times I am a head of the world.


The ability to achieve goals. I have the confidence that I will reach my goal. It may be a

tough goal, a difficult goal but not an impossible goal. I have the ability, I have the competence, I have the strength not only to achieve my goal but to surpass it. I can, I will. The attitude to create winning situations: I have a positive attitude. I believe in winning but not at the cost of other people. I do not believe in Win-Lose situations. I believe in Win-Win situations. Situations which create growth which motivates, inspires, creates a passion for achievement.

The attitude to always get things done at the right time quantitatively and qualitatively:

It is a question of approach, of planning, of execution of the plan. Of having an attitude

of perfectionism, of having a “NOW’ attitude with least delays or postponement or procrastination. Of always emphasizing on both quality and quantity of the highest order. The desire to always try and be “a winner and an achiever”. I

I WILL NEVER BE A LOSER IN LIFE. I will create a brand of an achiever. I shall always try to win in whatever situations I create and whatever situations life places me in. My oxygen, my nutrition, my mantra will be to achieve.






In order to succeed in the Corporate Life we need direction, focus and A VISION

What is a vision?

A vision is a dream. People who have achieved have always had a vision. A dream which they did not give up. Look around you, and you find that only those who had a vision a dream of what they want from life have made a mark in life.

Bill Gates became the richest person in the World because he had a vibrant vision for himself and for Microsoft.

So what is your dream? If you dream small you achieve small. If you dream big, you achieve big. So as first step, dare to dream.

Maria Sharapova was a poor Russian, today she is World no.1 in Tennis

Take a pencil and write down your dream. Share this with your parents. Share it with your spouse and children. Refine it. Define it.


Take your dream and give it a direction. Where do you want to go? Where do you want to reach? When do you want to reach? How do you want to reach? Define the milestones. Start travel to your destination.

Take a dream, give it a direction and then make an action plan. How you will get there. Create your goals. (The following chapter)


Dream + Direction + Action = Vision.





Your vision is not static.



It is dynamic.

changing times. But it always has to exist.




be It can be revised.



It can be changed.



To meet the

A ship has its compass. Radar guided by the North Star. A light house. And a very strong anchor to prevent from floating when the engines are off.

An Aircraft has its computer, its radar, its navigational instruments.

Both the ship and the air-craft are thus able to travel through storm, lightening, and incremental weather.

You have your vision. To guide you through frustrations and failures, celebrations and success, greatness and glory.

“When I began my career I had decided that when ever I got into a new assignment I would do

much more than the person before me. I would do so much and of such high quality that the

person following me would find it impossible to equal my achievements”.

“When I got into a senior HR position, I decided that I would try making a positive impact in the lives of everyone I met. Everyone.”


“When I began my business my only goal was to make money. The rest did not matter. I did not

realize that making money was my mission. I had to break my mission into small but tuff goals but today in three years time I have the best restaurant in the city catering to across the board


Your goals will give you direction. Your goals will create your mile stones. You will know where to concentrate, will be able to prioritize better. And importantly, proactively hijacking your life onto wasteful activities.

Go through the goal setting process.





related to your personal life, your

education, your career and your family. Sit and write the write the goals down. Do not have


goals which impossible to achieve. At the same time, do not go in for goals which are soft and easy to achieve.

Going for stretch goals. Hard but possible to achieve. Goals which will stretch your physical and mental faculties to the core. Goals which you will enjoy achieving.

“In my achievement motivation experience exercises I have proven the data that most of us have

an estimate of our selves much lower than our potential. This is also mostly true of corporate

people across the board irrespective of the position”.

Keep your potential in mind when setting goals. Remember that each one of us is gifted with a great potential. It is we who are responsible of lowering our estimates and therefore our potential.

“A footballer in my school team would play just enough to win. He enjoyed playing against mediocre teams. His game would go to pieces if we faced a strong team. Later in life despite

being professionally qualified he took up a municipal job and retired after only two promotions.”

The methodology is initially having small but tough goals. Achieve these small goals and your confidence goes up. Increase your goals. Make them bigger and harder to achieve. Achieve them. Your confidence gets concretized. You are ready for bigger, tougher more stretched goals.

Set goals for your personal, professional, family, social life. As you achieve your goals you will find that your self esteem, your confidence in your skills, abilities gets enhanced.

You can not run the marathon straight away. You practice with small distances as a start. You increase the distance gradually. Lo! And Behold!! You are a competitive marathon. Runner ready

to climb the winner’s podium.

“Initially, I was like a passenger who when asked by the taxi driver “where do you want to go?” I

would reply the reply would be “anywhere you wish to take me.”

I know it is ridiculous but it is

an excellent simile for those of us who do not have well defined goals.”



When I am doing well, I am comfortable. I do not see the reason to step out of my comforts and make additional efforts to achieve. I do not see the reason to move out of inaction.

Therefore, the among biggest enemies of Corporate Success are the Comfort Zone and Inertia.

Security in life, getting things easily some times automatically leads us to the Comfort Zone. We do not make the effort to strive and strain. The effort to change. “Why achieve through struggle when I have I want.” There are no threats, no risks and therefore limited rewards.


Inertia is not doing anything living in in-action. do nothing.

Procrastination. Post-pone and delay. Ultimately

Mary Lou Retton wanted to achieve the Olympic gold medal in gymnastics. She practiced for hours and hours. She did not operate in the Comfort Zone but practiced in the struggle zone.

Mary Lou Retton was operated upon for a frozen knee three months before the Olympics. She rejected the Medical estimates of recovery, refused to operate in the Comfort Zone practiced had and went on to win the Olympic Gold Medal.

We see the Comfort Zone and Inertia in large measures in the Government Sectors. Risk taking ability, the ability to face challenges and the attitude of struggling endlessly is reduced in the Comfort and Inertia Zone.

“In my Public Sector Organization I see massive waste of potential by the Inertia of people. They

have desires but they do not use their energy to set the desires on fire. They are victims of

  • inertia---------- I want to do it, I will do it tomorrow, or next week----Forget it. Its not worth the

trouble, so why do it at all.” Inertia in operation.




You have the goals and the action plans. What you need now is to have a focus and keep your application at peak. Keep at it do not give up till you achieve.

The rays of the Sun when focused through a magnifying glass can burn a hole in the paper. Similarly, a focused approached with application can create miracles.

An Indian pace-bowler had a huge potential. But he would not apply himself fully. He would do

well in a match, feel “I have achieved the bowling Nirvana “slacken up and perform below par

leading to his omission from the team.

“I wanted to study exports in the US. I struggled for a scholarship for four years since I did not have the funds. Ultimately my struggle and my uncompromising application, focus were rewarded after a period of four years when I got a full scholarship to study at the World Trade Institute, the World Trade Centre. NY (9 /11 broke my heart.)”

Shane Warne would bowl continuously on a pre-determine spot, on a single wicket for hours together. Application is the name of the game.

The Indian Cricketing Legend Kapil Dev would practice “putting” for six hours at a stretch when

he moved to Golf after quitting cricket. Even in cricket he was known to make no compromises


on fitness, practice, continued application and focus. This is one of the reasons why ultimately he held the World Cup with pride as the winning Indian Captain

Keep a focus on the goals and the results. Move away from providing excuses; move to exclusive focus on the results.

Focus not on the activities alone; focus on measured planned activities, concentrate on the results. Results are may not be positive. Learn from mistakes, perfect whatever you are doing and get on the job.

Some of us as people are not living but only existing. In order to move out from the “Inhale oxygen, exhale carbon dioxide” category of people we need to inject into our selves the need to achieve, the ambition to succeed, a bit of fire in the belly.


Without ambition very little is possible. You must have an ambition, fire in the belly to reach your goal. To succeed, to make an impact, to leave your brand.

Your ambition is the product of a vision and therefore think big. Become an achiever. Become a winner.

Look around you and you will see drooping shoulders. Energy-less humans sans achievement.

Your ambition, your need to succeed must be stronger than your fear of failing.

You must feel some sort of discontent with your current status and position/location in life. This discontent will fuel your fire to succeed. It will create a drive in you to get ahead.


Part I


(Understanding Transition)

The Competitive World

Gen x refers to an age-group characterized by ambition, impatience, flexibility, independence, creativity and techno-literacy

The Transition

  • I began my career way back in 1963 and grew from strength to strength while working on












































have taught





















University and in many autonomous colleges in Delhi.

This book has evolved over the past two decades. The process of evolution has been:

Over these years, I have had occasions to observe many enthusiastic and capable young graduates undergoing similar and sometimes disturbing experiences at the workplace. These youngsters start their careers with stars in their eyes, brimming with enthusiasm and are eager to reach the top in the shortest possible time. However, within the first few years of joining an


organization, their enthusiasm ebbs and their involvement in the matters of the organization loses its vibrancy and bounce set in. Even exceptionally brilliant students resort to frequent job-hopping, not because the job content is not challenging enough, but because of problems within the organization.

My understanding is that there is nothing wrong with these qualified new recruits who join an organization. The only problem is that they are not adequately prepared to meet the organizational and workplace realities. No institution prepares them for this future shock.

This became the subject of my study and research. I desired to extend a helping hand to the younger generation in stabilizing career performance at the entry level. I applied myself to the task of training young recruits to successfully tide over the turbulence that often accompanies the transition from college to organizations and establish themselves. With this objective in mind, I designed a workshop on ‗Transition‘ drawing from my experience in the industry, in the academia and also from my education in behavioural sciences.

Till date, I have trained nearly 2000/2500 students through workshops, one-to-one discussions, behavioural labs, and in-depth sessions during induction training. This book is the culmination of all these years of teaching and training.

My motivation for writing this book is simple but specific:

To equip graduates with those skills and competencies indispensable for success in organizations. When employers were asked to list the most desirable characteristics in a new MBA recruit they listed the following as critical:

Interpersonal skills.


Communication skills.

Self-management capacity.

Goal-setting skills.

Leadership qualities/skills.

I have found that:

Young managers are equipped to be successfulthey have the degree, the optimism and the determination. But they suffer at the entry level due to lack of classroom inputs related to behavioural adjustment to organizational realities.


need to

develop an

adequate, if not

superlative level of interpersonal and

communication skills.

New recruits are very sound in technical, functional and management knowledge. But they lack the necessary people skills and the ability to adjust to rapidly changing, dynamic and very demanding organizational realities.

They need to develop effective people management skills and practicable self- management skills.

They enter a new area, new culture, new work climate, and take on new responsibilities. But they are unable to successfully combine situational realities quickly with their career ambitions and aspirations, and feel a sense of frustration or failure.

They need to set those short-term goals that will pave the way for the achievement of their long-term objectives.

My findings reveal that new recruits need to be guided, trained and coached not only on the up-gradation / use of technical skills, but also in those social and emotional competencies that are


essential for success, i.e. up-gradation and enrichment of attitudes, emotional competencies, and ways of thinking.

This book is designed to fulfil this purpose.

As soon as they enter an organization, most young managers seek to make an impact in two major areassecond to improving organizational systems and practices, they betray an urgent desire to prove that the boss‘ knowledge, approach and decision-making processes are out-dated.

They start digging a grave to put the boss in. But what goes into the grave is their own career prospects. They are permanently sidelined or terminated. If they leave the organization without reflecting upon and learning from these mistakes, these are likely to be repeated in a new job.

The book is designed to prevent such a happening.

The formative years of the careers of new recruits are critical given the intense competition and result-oriented work environment. They cannot afford to have setbacks at the very outset. The scars of the injuries experienced at this stage remain with these youngsters throughout their journey to higher-level management. Because once the boat is rocked, stabilization takes time.

The purpose or objective of this book is to prepare youngsters for the turbulent times of transition from college to the workplace; from a protective environment to an organizational jungle so that all attendant injuries can be prevented.

It has been the experience of the author that employees do not get what they desire, while working towards that top slot. A study carried out by the Harris Education Research Council in 1991 for a body of American employers found that: More than half the workforce lacked the motivation to continue learning and improving on job. Four out of 10 were not able to work cooperatively with fellow employees and just 19 per cent of those applying for entry-level jobs had enough self-discipline in their work habits. This human factor is equally applicable to other parts of the globe.

According to a survey conducted by ‗Training and Development‘, an American Society for Training and Development magazine, the top management positions over the last decade or so, have been occupied by managers in the 3540 age bracket.

It follows that there is no sense in rushing things and jeopardizing careers. Promotions do not come their way right away, no matter how brilliant the recruits are. The sooner this fact is understood the better it is for their careers. Learning through repetitive mistakes is, therefore, a waste of time, energy, and potentiala luxury young managers can ill-afford.

It normally takes few years say two to three, in some cases even five, for the individual to understand organizational reality. The duration is not as important as understanding that the process of transition and the pains and pleasures thereof are normal. It is clear to me that each new entrant needs to plan and expend efforts to make the transition from the college to the workplace seamless and effective. Young managers need to be helped to acclimatize and aculturalize themselves to organizations which is crucial for their success.

This book will fulfil this need.

The approach of this book is mostly behavioural, as I am a professional behavioural practitioner and trainer. It is structured in a linear fashion, but the content is richly textured. Each experience is shown to be a learning process. Above all, the approach remains positive all through.

An important point needs to be made. During your professional education you must have found politics, infighting, emotional blackmail of students and sacrificing integrity for just a few


dollars. All at the level of the Faculty, the Dean and other seniors. Accept this as a reality of life. You are going to experience similar if not same in the commercial organization. The educational institute is also an organization and a faculty etc. are also human so learn from your educational experiences without participating. Store it and refer to your learning when you join an organization.

The book is your journey to reality.

Happy learning.

Future shock (is) the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time.

Alvin Toffler 1970 Future Shock



Your Our Degree is only a Piece of Paper

Remember that your degree is only to get you your first job. It is your visa, your passport to your first job as you leave college. After that your degree has no value. It is page one in your personal file.

It is not being said that you have wasted your money and time in your professional college. It is important to realize that the organization expects something much more from you after taking you on board.

While your degree is a piece of paper the company looks at your knowledge and more importantly how you convert your knowledge to actual implement able action.

Your skills at the workplace.

I have seen youngsters flaunt their degree and their qualification without being conscious of the fact that they need to prove that they are competent, able to practically use their knowledge to meet the business objectives of the company.

Do not let theory become a block, a speed breaker. Use your theory as a base foundation to build on practical job aspects.

So remember

―Prove to the company that you actually have earned the degree. Do this by your actionable performance, by showing on the job competence by focused delivering‖.


Hello Organization

  • C ome, let us reduce the shock. Let us look at the new world you are entering. As you move from college to the commercial or industrial scene, you will experience a world of change. From a protected, structured environment with strict parameters for performance

evaluation, you are entering an arena where performance is assessed differently.

This makes it essential that you are introduced to the basic ingredients of organizational structure. This will help you to understand the organization as a vibrant, throbbing body of people who relate to each other as they work together.

Classical theory views an organization as a rational and bureaucratic system. Though organizations are undergoing dramatic and radical changes, bureaucracy still exists as the predominant management style. This is particularly true of large organizations.

The bureaucratic model is characterized by:

Specialization or division of labour.

A hierarchy spelt out through the organogram.

A regular set of rules, policies, procedures and practices to be observed and implemented very strictly.

A spirit of formalistic impersonality without emotions or enthusiasm.

The bureaucratic organization has both functional strengths and dysfunctional weaknesses. For instance, a rational model believes in rationalizing the system and not the people. But it also dehumanizes people by reducing human beings to units of labour.

The rational model is characterized by specialization, bureaucracy and scientific management which make for higher productivity. Specialization or division of labour is the cornerstone of organizations. Division of labour multiplies the productivity by several times. It involves breaking down a complex task into numerous simple routines and assigning each of these subtasks to one worker so that he can quickly master the tasks assigned to him and progressively grow in efficiency. All of them together produce 20 times more units than what they would have if they had done the entire work independently. Besides, specialization will also ensure that the quality of the product will be much superior.

Bureaucracy involves a clearly worked out hierarchy spelled out in the organogram that ensures accountability on the one hand and an impersonal manner of discharging duties with minimal emotional involvement. This reduces conflicts that impede work and allows for full fledged and unhindered production.

Scientific management concerns itself with increasing the productivity of an individual by controlling fatigue and stress levels by providing the right work conditions and hygiene factors. It draws from ergonomics and extensive job analysis and job design. These methods ensure that work goes optimally with few hurdles.

But all this has changed now. Thanks to the work of humanist psychologists, an organization is now viewed as a social system i.e. as a network of people. Here the motivation to work arises


out of positive and enriching human relationships at work and the challenge, autonomy, and the scope for decision-making the work itself affords.

Consequently, in modern organizations, systems, persons/people, decision-making and result- orientation have become the key words. More importantly, people are neither numbers on

the payroll, nor boxes in an organogram. They are not ‗role people‘, but ‗whole people‘ vitally alive and growth-oriented. In the modern organization, commitment, contribution, cooperation and collaboration are the pillars of individual and organizational success.









accountability are the watchwords of modern organizations, irrespective of their size and structure.

There are various organizations in the public as well as private sectors where you can find gainful employment. The public sector provides security through a lifetime employment whereas the private sector provides growth and lifetime employability.


These are:

A small organizationessentially a one-man show.

A small family-owned organization.

A small family-owned but professionally managed organization.

A medium-sized organization.

A large organization in the private sector.

A large organization in the public sector.

A medium-sized organization in the public sector.

The type of organization you should join depends upon your qualifications, your aptitude, your choice and the availability of employment.

Organizations could be in the manufacturing sector, service and hospitality sector, marketing, construction or a combination of these. The latest job opportunities have been with the Information Technology sector; these however have fast passed their peak.

However you must bear in mind that finding a job is much easier than holding it successfully. It calls for a great deal of adjustment. Therein lies the greatest challenge. You have to adapt ‗into‘ an organization

What makes your adjustment process difficult is that each organization has its own culture with a value system, traditions and a unique climate which must be understood.

As members of the organization, we act, react and interact with one another. Through this exchange, we comprehend processes and appreciate problems, which arise either due to the structure of the organization or inter-personal behaviour. So it is important that you understand how organizations function.

Each organization has common structural dimensions as given below:

Vision, mission and goals.

Control and regulation of the work through a hierarchy of people and activities.

Rules, regulations, policies and practices as well as the degree of freedom to operate.


Status enjoyed by the employees within the organization and the role expectations from them by the organization.

Decision-making process. Style of implementation of the decisions.

It is not essential that all organizations possess all these structural dimensions; these are mentioned only to enable you to relate and understand the organization better.

Organizational culture is like an iceberg where formal structures, policies, practices, financial stability etc., are visible. What is not visible and what you should find out about the organization is the hidden portion of the iceberg, relating to values, culture, styles of management and leadership and team operations. This inside view aids your adjustment.
























out whether the end justifies the means or whether adhering to principles, values and morals is more important than the achievement of goals.

Importantly, do find out whether the work environment is motivating, empowering or otherwise. The type of teamwork, the degree of rewards for individual and team performances are also part of the iceberg under water.

Find out about the organization if possible from your sources.

In the past, organizations had a very soft approach towards fresh recruits. They were exposed to long in-depth classroom induction training with numerous test quizzes, examinations and grades. Loads of reading material with books of reference were provided. It was actually like an extension of college and a pleasant orientation to the new world.

However things have changed.

Today, the employee is expected to shoulder the responsibility of learning, upgrading skills, performing and growing. Inductees are not taught through very structured inputs and yet the organization expects them to learn. The organization no longer resorts to ‗hand-holding‘ to help its employees to perform. It is, however, available for support whenever required. The opportunities and the ambience is provided by the organization but the final responsibility of learning rests with the young manager.

I changed jobs and I reported at the new place at 9.30 am. I was given one hour to settle down, half an hour to submit my documents and at 11 o clock I was expected to deliver.

No induction, no acclimatization, no acculturalization nothing of the sort. On the job deliver.

Authentic statement.

Fresh employees specially the generation Y wants to enter the organization on Monday and start taking strategic decisions on Tuesday. I wish they displayed more keenness to learn the job content, the company culture and the technologies in use.

I would place keenness to learn as a strong parameter for selection‖.

Authentic statement.

Moreover, you are responsible for your own career. You must make sure that you increase your value to the organization through a continuous process of value addition in each activity.


Given this context, it may be helpful if we concentrate on:

Positive thinkinglooking for the best.

Building an OK level of self-esteem.

Developing skills.

Learning from outside sources.

I also urge you to analyse and understand the environment, i.e., government policies, state of economy, political forces as well as pulls and pushes from the society and community that influence organizational life and functioning. (page 21)

The purpose of this chapter was to give you a quick bird‘s eye view of the commercial world

you are about to enter so that you can anticipate pitfalls and avoid them as well as identify

opportunities for growth and exploit them. What follows will prepare you so that the shock is less shattering, less stressful and you will be able to handle yourself with minimum disorientation.

Look about. Learn. Understand and adjust.

I changed jobs after 6 months in my first job, which was in a medium sized organization owned by a family and run by the younger generation who were qualified. The environment was quite stress free and I had a well defined role. But the excitement was missing. I have now joined an advertising agency where there is high level of stress, anxieties and running after deadlines. My full life has changed and I carry papers to home.

Fortunately, I was prepared for this change and hence the cultural shock has been minimum. I understood that each organization has its own profile.

Authentic Statement

A fresher was required to report at 9 am which he did since the HR “ on boarding” person was busy he asked the management trainee to sit down. Nothing happened till 1 o’clock and the MT

was sent to have lunch. He had to find his own way. Again he waited till 5 o’clock without any


The HR guy called him at 5.15 took his portfolio of papers and asked him to report the

next day”.

Not a very unusual happening. On the other side of the coin our people like bill gates who make it a point to spend the first half of the day with summer interns and also those who are new recruits.

Like one hears very often “it takes all types to make this world to populate this world”.


Nagging Doubts

A s a new entrant, you will







nameless apprehensions. These apprehensions could be:


I am well qualified. I bring with me up-to-date knowledge. Will I be able to qualifications and apply my knowledge in the organization?

use my

I have heard that organizations are full of politics and that youngsters are not welcomed readily. Will the company let me contribute my best?

What if my superiors don’t give me the opportunity to grow? In such a case, what happens


to my past qualifications and future growth?


I know I can solve some of the outstanding problems this organization has. Will anybody take me seriously?

What happens if I don’t succeed? How does the organization tolerate mistakes and failures?

What will my family and friends think in case I fail on this job?

Will I learn and grow?

Do I have to make major sacrifices in order to grow in the organization?

What are these sacrifices and what will be the price I have to pay for going up the ladder?

So on and so forth

. .


These are normal thoughts that cross the mind of a new careerist. You are no exception and your fears are not baseless. The pressures are great, challenges are many and pitfalls are numerous. Not that the normal life is devoid of these. In an organization, as in families, there are bound to be differences of opinion concerning attitudes, values, education and aptitudes. Look upon these as positive learning opportunities and approach them in such a fashion that you get into win-win situations.

When I joined my company, I was full of apprehensions. I was just a graduate and pitted against engineers. I feared whether I will be able to grow amidst such tough competition. But I made my grade quickly without stumbling at the blocks. With experience, I became multi- skilled. My apprehensions were obviously misplaced.


Don’t worry too much. Just as you have survived numerous crises in your normal life, so will

you in your organization. Things will work out. They normally do. Face the future with confidence and with the will to succeed.

Take charge. Be confident. Go ahead, one step at a time. Cautiously, carefully but surely and positively.

I was trembling when I entered the training hall on the first day. However, the Head of Training gave an introductory talk which prepared us mentally. It was comforting to know that each of us had similar if not the same doubts about the career ahead. When the trainers shared with us that they had also been through the same feelings we felt more confident about the future. It is not as though all our apprehensions vanished, but the tension was much less.

Authentic Statement

As a boss and as a trainer, I find it very useful if the youngsters are prepared for what actually happens in organizations.

Authentic Statement

“As a HR Specialist with 3 years work experience I expected to be given hard core

responsibilities such as performance management systems, strategic role of HR, employee engagement etc. I was surprised when they gave me the first 6 months to go around the JVs and subsidiary offices to meet the people and get to know things.

What I thought was a waste of time turned out to be rich knowing the organization.” Authentic statement.


The First Few Days

I was selected after written tests, group discussions and a series of interviews where the level of management interviewing me kept increasing. So, I felt I was valuable to the company. However, when I reported, I was asked to wait because Personnel was busy with some impending strike. Finally, at 4 P.M., after a cursory glance at my documents, I was told to go for a medical the next day. What a waste of one full day.

Authentic Statement

V ery true. Absolutely correct. Not very unusual. Nothing wrong.

As a new entrant, when you report to an organization you normally feel like a VIP. You have whipped the competition and have been selected on the basis of your qualifications, potential, etc. Therefore, you feel that you are among the best things to have happened to the organization. You expect a little preferential treatment; some extra attention when you report to the organization you are joining. And that is quite normal.

However, this may or may not happen, especially in those organizations where the prevailing attitude is ‘Here’s one more guy/gal to join the bandwagon’. It must be remembered that the selection committee, as well as the department that is going to utilize your qualities, competencies, and talent are quite different from the people, the department and location that you encounter on the first day. We are talking about the Personnel Department.

Personnel, in many organizations, is sensitive and has a positive approach to new recruits. You will know you have joined such an organization when you experience a personal touch, with attendant efforts to make you comfortable on your first day. Expect to be taken to the head of Personnel for a small informal welcome, after which someone from the department will show you the areas you need to get familiar with, e.g. the cafeteria, cash section, etc.

In other organizations, where the Personnel Department does not consider caring as one of its strengths, you are likely to feel alienated and isolated. Your joining process may consist of someone checking your documents, placing them on file and assigning you a company identification number. After that you are left to fend for yourself and find your way about.

It must be emphasized that there is nothing wrong or right with the approaches described above. They do not in any way imply that you are not important to the organization. Sometimes, the practices are a part of the system and sometimes the practices reflect the management style and approaches of the head of Personnel, duly handed down to team members.


It may not be easy to handle this apathy and indifference, but as a new entrant, you have to accept these practices with a firm belief that any negatives you experience are not directed at you exclusively. Do not also be in a hurry to judge the whole organization and its work style based on the first few days of your experience.

In small organizations, the new entrant is put on the job immediately once the formalities are completed. Alternately, induction training starts immediately. In larger organizations, there is a gap of a few days between joining, induction, and getting on with the job.

It is always prudent to use this time to get to know the ropes informally. In the Personnel/HRD department, especially if you make an effort, you can easily find a willing employee, a willing talker who can share useful data with you. You will also get a feel of people who are in power and who exert influence. See if some of them are located in the HRD group and explore the possibility of gaining an exposure to them by a simple seeking. Alternately, making a note of such power people for later use is also recommended.

In the first few days, pay special attention to presenting a pleasant exterior, displaying elegant manners and smartly acceptable clothes (don’t overdo it or you will stand out like a sore thumb).

Don’t worry too

much in


first few days and don’t form impressions this soon. All

organizations care for their employees and any experience to the contrary should be taken in your stride with a firm belief that a great and positive future awaits you. If you worry too much

its easy for someone to capitalize on those fears.

In my organization, most new recruits didn’t report after the first day. We were all baffled by

this and decided to pursue the matter. We soon discovered that the person in charge of the joining formalities, had risen from the ranks and was envious of the allowances of the management trainees. His start-up salary was less than the daily allowance of the trainees. So he left no stone unturned in painting a dark picture to the trainees. No doubt they put as much distance between the company and themselves as possible. Once he was removed from the position, things changed.

So hold on. Grit your teeth. Things will work out for themselves. They always do.

Just learn to adjust and take things in your stride.

I felt uncared for and suffered greatly when I joined my organization. However, on learning how to handle the first few days in a training workshop, I prepared my younger brother who was selected by a Public Sector undertaking. I am happy to say he was fully prepared and could make his mark from day one. He had very few adjustment problems.

Authentic Statement


In the first few days do not form an impression of the organization do not judge the climate culture and people. Just collect data for storing in your mental data bank.

Learn to put into practice the HR Competence: Organizational Awareness, become aware of the formal and informal structure, formal and informal power, the source of power and the different types of power that you see in the Organization. Learn to understand the indepth the culture especially the importance placed on interpersonal relationships, teamwork and delivery of results.

Use your smile often. Keep your ears and eyes open and your MOUTH SHUT.


Part II


(Cognitive Restructuring)

When you join an organization, things don‗t start happening on the first day. They take their time. During this period you may feel that nothing is being achieved. Don‗t be in a hurry, remember that these are your ....

Formative Years

Please remember the image and reputation created by you in your formative years will go along with you for a long time even if you leave the organization. It has been found that people create their own work style and patterns of behavior in the first few years of their corporate life.

In my own formative I had created a vision statement “I will do when I take over an assignment or

get into a new job or a new department I will do more that my predecessor has done and I will do

so much that my successor will find it difficult to emulate.

God has been kind I have been able to live my vision of my formative years to a very large extent.

You are new to the Company and the Company is new to you. Don’t expect miracles to happen. The Company will test you before giving you responsibilities. In certain sectors like IT, the level of responsibility and the job content for each position is laid out. So don’t be in a hurry to rock the boat and expect the Company to make exceptions in your case



he first few years in the organization are crucial for a new recruit. A new recruit immediately

becomes the cynosure of all eyes. These also are the years when he has to establish himself in the organization as well as build his career. Any setback at this stage can have far-reaching repercussions. Once we create a negative image in the minds of others, it is not likely that they

will ever discard that image no matter what we do later.

As you work towards creating your brand equity and identity in the organization, at all costs avoid actions which will come in the way of superlative image-building and identity creation.



Prestige controversies.

Fights and quarrels.

Uncontrolled displays of temper.

Operating in a win-lose mode. In fact, you must take an oath that you will not lose your temper or throw a tantrum at work.

Keep a diary and list four sections:

  • a) c) Identity


  • b) d) Image


Log your plans, successes, your learning from failures and race towards the brand image you wish to create in the organization. Go for the win-win mode. Remember competition is high. Too much is at stake.

Focus on attitude. For instance, on joining the organization, you feel you should be given

assignments that are directly related to your qualifications. ‗It would be foolish for any organization not to do so‘. But you soon realize that the organization feels differently; before being

given responsible assignments you are encouraged to experience the ground realities. Get a feel of the work and undergo organizational and functional induction.

Determine from the organization the period of eligibility for your first promotion. During the interim period, keep your mind focussed on that promotion, and begin the work of creating your reputation, impression and identity in the organization.

Understand role shedding and role taking. You have come from a location where you had the child (son/daughter) and the student role. You have got to shed these roles and gradually take on the professional role which requires you to practice initiative responsibility and accountability.

The following chapters will identify the dysfunctional and non-adaptive behaviours that will abort your career. Read these carefully and guard yourself from falling into those pitfalls. Please ...

Don‟t dig a grave and bury your career.



Note : On a separate page.

It is well said if you don’t take charge and decide your own destiny somebody else will


As you enter an organization, you expect instant recognition and quick rewards. You feel that the organization should focus on you. These expectations are not likely to be met. There may be a few dozen or so employees, other than you, with the same or similar expectations. Therefore, you have to be different; you have to consider that ...

You Are A Product

A Product? Me? How? Here is how:


s a new entrant into the organization you are an unknown entity. In marketing terms, you are a product of which only the outer packing is visible. The quality of the product and its actual performance is unknown. The organization has only an indication of the potential of your performance; not the performance itself.

When we talk of you as a product, the outer packing is your name, your family background, the percentage of marks you obtained in college and graduation. Exteriors can be misleading. I

remember going to a movie titled ‗Hot Lips and Winter Cold Heart‘. Well, you can guess what I

felt when I got to know that the film was about sea fish.

Your exterior is only an indication of your abilities. You have to translate your potential to actual performance. Concentrate on all those activities which will bring your performance into the spotlight/focus. Look around, talk to seniors and actually make a list of priority activities that you will concentrate on. It will be useful if you make up your mind to ensure value addition in all that you do.

In other words, what you do has to be better in quality and quantity compared to what has been done earlier. Make sure nothing dilutes or contaminates the level of your performance.

Just as taste is the proof of the pudding, performance is the proof of your ability.

This was one of the most useful things I learned at the very start of my career. I always thought that my qualifications would carry me through. I now realize that I have to be very careful in proving to the organization that my performance will always be beyond their expectations. I have been doing this for the last two years and already my boss thinks differently about me.

Authentic Statement


After completing the professional degree program you feel you have learnt all there is to know about a particular subject. Your knowledge is fresh. Your understanding of the subject is in-depth and very clear. You, therefore, feel fit and ready to undertake any task. Here you need to stop and realize that you are ...

Qualified But Unskilled

Knowledgeable but not automatically competent.

I am a rank holder in engineering and my friend has a distinction in MBA. And you say that we are unskilled. How dare you!

I have been class monitor and a badminton champion. I was also very popular in college. I

think I‘m quite skilled.

  • L et‘s see. A professional qualification gives you a vast knowledge base. Competence and expertise are not created by knowledge alone, but by a combination of knowledge and skills.

In our supply point we had a blue collar worker with numerous personality problems. On the advise of the psychologist, he was left alone to work independently. Here comes a fresh MBA (HR ) eager to take over the world. Though the blue collar worker was twice her age, she took him under her wing, so to say, and started to counsel and mentor him. Things went out of control and the worker had a nervous break down and the girl herself went into a shock. Knowledge gives you awareness but not skills.

― A distinction holder from a premium engineering college joined a manufacturing unit at the floor level. He would attend factory wearing a spotlessly white shirt. The workers tried to discourage him but he felt his degree required absolute designer clothes. This went on till one day a senior blue collar worker dipped his hands in grease and greeted the engineer with a slap on the back--- leaving his finger and hand prints on the shirt. That was the end of the white shirt.


When will we realize that degrees don‘t guarantee the right attitude. In fact sometimes they come in the way of the right attitude.‖

Authentic statement.

Therefore, ask yourself what skills you have acquired when you finished college. Make a list of these and identify how many relate to organizational work. Are they sufficient? Do you feel you are really and fully skilled to take on challenges at the work place? Make an honest assessment.

A fresh graduate with a professional degree normally needs to upgrade his or her:

Job Skills

Job skills are competencies required for doing a job well. These come with practice and experience. The starting point could be the classroom as far as knowledge is concerned, but honing that knowledge into skill requires practice and experience.

People Skills

People skills is the lifeline of any successful career. It is the ability to work as a team member; to interact with people across departments i.e., Boundary Management. It also implies the ability to supervise firmly, yet with compassion and sensitivity; handling people in such a way that work gets done.

I was told that two ladies fresh from college were sent to an outlandish place for training. The place had no toilets for ladies. One of the ladies drove to town 10 km away when ever she felt like easing up. Exasperated, she resigned.

The other lady negotiated with the location head and got the toilet reserved for ladies with the

gents going open air. She finished her training successfully and did well in the organization. That‗s

what managing people is all about.

People skills also includes skill to work across sectional, departmental and organizational boundaries to produce the desired results and achieve goals; to obey without being servile; the ability to generate and receive positive vibes; the ability to convert negative vibes into positive ones.

In short, it is the ability to get along very well with people. Man management i.e., maintaining good interpersonal relationship (IPR) with colleagues, including those lower than you in the hierarchy (but are sometimes twice your age) is a part of people skills.

After college I was posted in the south of India. I tried to get things in order, but met with stiff resistance. I could sense the male mindset not willing to be ‗told to‘ by a woman. They branded me a ‗Bombay girl‘. I could feel the undercurrent of resentment and hostility. Work place is so

different. I had a real tough time initially.

Then one day I had a problem with the local language. I asked my immediate subordinate to help me out. That broke the ice. Thereafter, I frequently went to him and other colleagues for help. That slowly changed their mindset. When I was called back to Bombay, my subordinate offered to ask for a transfer so as to be on my team.

Learn to tackle situations and people. Don‘t give up on a situation as hopeless or irredeemable. Try to downplay yourself a little and see the difference.

However, do not underplay or undervalue yourself, just accept the fact that in organizational work, besides knowledge, various skills matter. The most important among these being job skills and people skills which must receive special attention from you.


Therefore, remember that a professional qualification is just an indicator of possible potential talent.

Translate that potential into performance. Don‟t give up. Give in. Getting a distinction in engineering was easier than developing people skills. Initially, I had a

tough time in the organization. I realized my skill gaps during a counselling session. I am happy I have a firm direction to work in. I have a long way to go but at least I know where I am going.

Don‘t let anyone tell you a degree guarantees people skills.

Authentic Statement


A professional degree is an indicator of knowledge and may be, strength of memory. Possessing a good college degree, however, gives a new entrant confidence that he is competent, capable and, therefore, talented enough to meet and overcome all the challenges of organizational life. A feeling that is quite normal but not quite justified when applied to reality! Remember that ...

Degrees Aren‘t Abilities


emember, your ‗glorious‘ academic career was based on marks obtained in an exam that may

or may not have a direct relation to the abilities required at the workplace. Besides, exams are an individual effort, while organizations require multiple skills and talent as part of teamwork.

I was the least qualified guy in the office. So I was worried that I will be ignored for important assignments. Our marketing manager was a super performer. He would come up with new ideas every day and inspire us a great deal.

I admired him a lot and tried to match his energy levels. I always managed to reach my targets. At the end of the year I was astonished when of all people, he promoted me to the position of Sales Officer. Then I realized qualifications don‘t count at the work place. Its abilities and achievements.

Do you have the requisite skills now that you have exited college? Make a list of these and identify how many of them relate to organizational work.

Also, make a list reflecting the parameters you feel that talent/ability depends on. Some of these could be:

Rigidity or high flexibility. Motivation.

Interpersonal relationships.

Result-orientation. Application with ability to work long hours. Self-esteem.

Negotiation skills. Leadership qualities. Follower-like qualities. Self-discipline.

Learning abilities. Effective teamwork. Communication skills.

• • Boundary management, etc.


Give yourself a rating on a scale of 1-5 against each. Highlight those where your scores are low. It is likely that you have low scores in most of these competencies. But don‘t get disheartened, because these are not taught in any colleges. You have to learn them on job.

So, see what you can do to remedy the situation. Get into a one-to-one with a friend, colleague or boss whom you trust and who can help you. Work out an action plan and ask for help to monitor as you go about reducing the gap between actual and desired level of those talent parameters which are essential and where your scores are low.

Be ready to learn the practical lessons life and work place has to teach you.

All of us in our MBA batch were convinced we were God‘s gift to management. A few months

before graduation we attended a workshop on Transition. We realized that we had to begin working on proving our talent. A few of us are still in touch with each other and find that not only did our attitude change after the workshop but also our performance in the organization as compared to others with similar qualifications. Actually we had to first prove to ourselves we were talented. After that it was easy to prove our talent to the company.

Authentic Statement

― During my management college days I had a colleague who has seven years work experience

backed with an engineering degree. She was intelligent but had problems in handling personal and interpersonal situations. Operating from low self esteem she constantly sought external approval. Her positive attributes were overshadowed by her negatives. Our professor counsel always told her that she had one major enemy in the institute --- her self.‖

Authentic statement.


As a new entrant you are likely to feel you are fully equipped, have the necessary arms and ammunition, the map and, thus, full knowledge of the topography. Your pockets bursting with degrees and qualifications, you are ready for war; winning the battle is only a matter of time.

It‘s a foregone conclusion because the world is waiting to be conquered by you. As a result, you often see seniors as old and redundant, and feel that: ‗What you learnt in the past twenty years, I picked up in three years during my MBA. Therefore, we are equal.‘ But you are ...

Not Equal To The Boss

I have a boss who became an engineer 20 years ago. His knowledge is rusty and outdated. He has no clue of the recent developments in our field. He should count himself lucky that I am with him because now I can teach him all that he has missed.

When I was doing my MBA we had case studies for each subject. I have picked up the experience of those who wrote the case studies. My knowledge is up-to-date and the company should feel happy that I have been selected, because with my coming, all their problems will be solved . I have told my boss that he should now hand over all his problems to me, especially since he completed his education so long ago.

The Boss has 20 years experience I have 2 years of real solid academic learnings plus a few hundred case studies. This makes me equal to the Boss.

T hese are authentic statements usually heard at induction labs and during presentations made to new recruits.

Self-confidence and confidence in one‘s knowledge are excellent attributes but must be used judiciously. The young professional must understand that experience gets richer with age and matures with responsibility.

In 20 years, the superior/manager would have weathered numerous crises. Each crisis may have been a learning opportunity, he must have learnt many lessons, whether consciously or unconsciously. This knowledge is not available in books; neither can it be substituted by case studies. Money, material and machines depreciate with time. Only man appreciates in value with time and experience.

So, ‗we are equal‘ is a statement that needs to be examined closely specially since it originates from the intellect. Obviously the new recruit is equating 20 years of experience with the numerous case studies he or she has handled at college; there is no denying that each case study reflects someone‘s experience, but let us not forget that learning by proxy is not genuine learning.

Make that small paradigm shift which enables you to say: ‗My qualifications and your

experience will jointly produce a great synergetic team, so I look forward to working with you‘.

Say this in all humility, showing respect for your senior.

In these days of Engineer plus MBA it is possible that your boss is not as qualified as you are. Sometimes he is there because of his business acumen in taking the company from start up to the present level. In such cases don‘t throw your qualification in the face of your senior. Don‘t prove your superiority. Help him realize that you could be his strength in providing him coverage in areas which are your strengths. Always offer your contribution to the workplace as a gesture of


help in humility. You will find it useful if you use the words ―My competencies are incomplete without your guidance‖.

Be genuine, be true. As a new entrant, you must strive to integrate classroom knowledge with workplace

experience. For this you must dig into your supervisors and seniors and get them to talk about their

experiences. They will love it because the past is always ‗golden‘ and any senior would love to

talk about the good old days. Listen intently. Make notes. Do this and you will end up with the








Own experience

= Thundering Success Relate the classroom learning with the workplace realities.


When you enter an organization, do not forget that the organization has been running, in most cases, very well much before you joined. You see a few holes in the system, a few systems that are out-dated, some new ideas that need to be put in place, wastage that needs to be plugged here and there. Nobody seems to care. Your bright ideas are not heard and even if heard, not considered seriously. So, the ‗defects‘ in the organization remain unattended and you feel that no one cares for the company but you. True! Very true. But what is your role? Know that ..





















t the beginning of a career you are not a CEO. Let the boss bother about the organization. You take care of your work and perform exceedingly well, right where you are. Take care of what is happening in your area of responsibility and set right whatever is not proper and do this without compromising or sacrificing quality.

If you do have a burning desire to change something outside your area of responsibility, talk to the people concerned, make your point, try to persuade and then leave it. Do not push for acceptance. Flag it mentally and come back to it whenever useful. Remember, detached involvement is the key. At all times, remember such issues are not part of your job or responsibility. They are only peripheral; hardly important in the final analysis of your own performance.

Use ‗conditioning‘. Condition the people who are going to receive your suggestion. Plant the seed casually, water it, nourish it strategically with fertilizers. The recipient gets ‗conditioned‘ to your suggestion, whereafter acceptance will be easier.

Let me remind you at the cost of repetition please do not move out of your area of responsibility until you have achieved performance excellence and gathered enough experience and expertise to look outside. Remember it is your responsibility to first understand the system, the processes, the methods, the way they do things in your organization.

Area of concern Area of responsibility Page48
Area of concern
Area of

Taking the concept from Steven Covey we may have a huge area of concern but it is the area of responsibility that we should concentrate on. Very often people have neglected their area of responsibility and have interfered in the areas of concern, which is the area of responsibility of somebody much higher in the hierarchy, and have got into trouble.

So concentrate on your table, make sure it is 100% clean and the delivery time fully met.

Changing things immediately on arrival is not your business. So hold on till you get the right opportunity or more importantly the right image/status to recommend changes and have your recommendations considered and accepted.

Stick to your role. Excel at your work.

An excellent performance in college does not automatically mean an excellent performance at the workplace. What is true and applicable in college may not always be applicable in the organization. These are two different worlds and initially you will do well to know that ...


Workplace Isn‘t College

In college, I was considered brilliant and I always scored very high marks. In my

organization, I do not seem to show any brilliance and my work does not seem to be appreciated

despite the fact that I am an expert problem solver. I don‘t know what is wrong.

Everybody in my department appears to be helping everybody else. If we did this in

college, it would be labelled cheating. Things are so different from what they were in college!


ou are right. In college, individual excellence is all that counts. Marks are obtained by an individual and, therefore, individual performance is prized. Input is not shared, neither is credit nor the final achievement. The final certificate or degree is given to an individual.

But this is not so in an organization. In an organization, individual brilliance is desirable but team performance is needed and rewarded. The need of the hour is individual contribution to the success of the team which ultimately contributes to the success of the section, department and the organizationespecially in this era of intense competition.

On the shop floor we had a problem identical to one that I had solved in our college lab. When I gave the same solution it was rejected outright.

There was a long outstanding problem in our manufacturing unit relating both to material and manpower. I worked out the solution based on my college inputs, but my boss rejected it immediately. I wonder why?

In college right answers get full marks. They are theoretical solutions to model problems. Organizations are confronted with practical complex problems where model answers don‘t work. In the workplace, it is more important that the answer is acceptable and workable.

Quite often, a brilliant suggestion gets knocked out due to poor presentation even though, according to your reckoning, the solution is bang on target. Or, it gets rejected because organizational realities were not kept in mind while the solution was being worked out.

You have to learn to market your ideas persuasively to the management, as you would sell a product to a customer. In an organization there are other considerations to a proposal rather than only its contents:

Tactical and strategic consideration, political issues and implementation feasibility.


Whether the proposal fits in with the personal career goals of the seniors.

Organizational exigencies, goals and strategies.

Interdepartmental realities and intra-organizational considerations.

Cost and budgetary considerations.

Risk of failure and non-success because of the creative or innovative content of the proposal. The credibility and trust enjoyed by the person originating the proposal or suggestion.

Keeping all



mind, learn

to operate

in the context

of the organization rather than

emphasizing upon the content of the suggestion. Discuss your proposals with those who have experience and who can guide you as a lighthouse guides a ship coming into port. At the cost of repetition, it becomes very essential that you realize that organizational realities are different from the conditions in college. Accepting this will also involve adjustment and adaptation of your thinking and also your work style. I remember an induction workshop where I was trying to bring home to the new recruits that

work place requires a different mindset altogether. To hit hard and drive the point home, I said that

they were as good as ‗unskilled labour‘.

That evening, I got a call from the mother of one of the participants requesting me not to make such statements as it hurt her brilliant but sensitive son. No doubt a case of ‗mama‘s pet‘. The next morning, when the class got to know this, they filled a feeding bottle with beer and kept it on his seat with the message GROW UP.

Most importantly, change that individuality mind set and move from individual performance to team membership.

Remember, you are on a different turf altogether.

You cannot imagine the trauma I went through when, despite my most aggressive presentation, all my suggestions were rejected one after the other. I was totally devastated. But now, some sense has dawned. I do a lot of consultation to make my suggestions politically and departmentally acceptable. I think this is an important lesson I learnt.

Authentic Statement

I wish we had been taught team building in college. We only worked as teams during college socials and functions. We hardly realized the importance of teams until we started working. I wonder what happens to people who do not get a proper induction.

Authentic Statement

In college we have seen our faculty and our Deans playing dirty politics and doing the opposite of what they speak about teams. I wish there could be more Walk the Talk.

You may experience a culture shock when you first join an organization simply because things are contrary to the inputs given at college. Sometimes, events could occur that are contrary to your

value system. Whenever any of this happens, and it almost always will, for God‘s sake ...


I finally realize that in the College I had a single role of a Student, in the Organization I have multi roles self role, colleague, team member, subordinate, supervisor to name a few. I have to execute each role at peak in case I am to achieve corporate peak performance.


Note: On a separate page.

Take calculated risks .

if you do

not take a risk you will not fail but then you will also not


In the changing climate everything is dynamic and every change is fraught with risk. Accept this as a part of life and face accept and overcome risky situations.


Be Positive

Don‘t Criticize Or Complain

People are tired of criticism negativity complaining. Print media is full of it, inflation and

corruption creates it at home therefore please don’t add your negative bit in the work place.

Be extra careful in looking at the positive side of things and creating positive vibes

Be a person that people look forward to interact with.

Be positive. Express your opinions in a positive manner. People welcome positive colleagues.


R nitpick. Criticism and complaining arises out of not accepting circumstances, people and situations as they are and wanting them to fit to your ideas. Your colleagues were there before you and are likely to get defensive over your cribbing and complaining. You may be viewed as unfriendly.

If your criticism is sharp, you may even be labelled as a nuisance. You may thus lose their support and their help may be withheld. Your learning process will suffer.

We once had a colleague who was a brilliant Chemical Engineer. But he was a great critic. Show him a proposal and he would find many loop holes and come up with many recommendations. He was acerbic in his remarks. He was very soon dreaded and avoided. Within a week of reporting to my department, he started finding holes in my pet project which got me a promotion. Ouch!! I got him out of my department. Pronto!

So hold on. Change gears. Keep your negatives at home (actually not even there). Show happiness and pride in the workplace. Show that you rejoice being part of the team. If there is at all a need to voice your opinions do it positively and don‘t make it sound like criticism.

As regards complaining, it may be useful to remember, that those who keep complaining and whining to express problems are hardly ever welcome. Criticism may at times be tolerated, but complaining and crying seldom is.


I have heard that in a secluded Himalayan monastery, the inmates have to maintain absolute silence. They were allowed to speak only two words every couple of years. A young initiate who completed his first two years was called to say his two words. ‗Food bad‘, he said.

Two years later, he used his opportunity to speak up to exclaim ‗stay uncomfortable‘. Yet another two years passed and he stormed into the superior‘s office to proclaim ‗I quit‘. The superior looked at the young monk and said ‗I am not surprised at all. All that you have done since you have arrived is complain, complain, complain!‘.

Exaggerated? May be. But when you get two words to speak, you don‘t focus on the lumps,

bumps and unfairness of life. You dwell on those things that are right, good and beautiful. Therefore, it becomes imperative that you abstain from complaining. So make it a point not to complain, and to find means other than complaining to solve a problem.

Try and experiment: complain about anything, say the weather, the traffic, the corruption. Do it for five minutes. Examine your energy level. You will find a tremendous waste of useless energy. Repeat the experiment with something positive. The lunch you ate. The cars on the road. MP3 and its music.

You will find negativity creates negative energy which is a waste. Positivity creates a positive energy which is a definite pick up.

Now that you have joined the organization, you feel you should be given assignments that are directly related to your qualifications. It would be foolish for any organization not to do this. However, you must realize that the organization knows best and before being given responsible assignments you must experience the ground realities. Get a feel of the work. Undergo organizational and functional induction. All this is hardly palatable when you are ...

In A Big Hurry

I am a MBA rank holder and I have a good track record in designing product launches. I am also very customer-oriented. I think it is sad that my company doesn‘t realize this. I have been told to visit all our retailers in town. What a waste of time!

After induction we are being sent for on-the-job-training which will take around a year. By that time all my engineering knowledge will have become stale.

The Generation Y appears to be in a perennial hurry.

The next generation is being called

generation NOW. Both the generations must work on this parameter because decision work and rewards in organizations have nothing in common with the instant noodles.


aving joined an organization, you want to become a part of the decision-making process; a part of the machinery that runs the organization. High ambitions! This is one of the bubbles which bursts early in the life of any new recruit. Especially, since you are in a hurry to succeed.

A mini culture shock for dreams dreamt while at college.


You may feel an urgency to put your classroom learning into practice; prove to yourself and to the world that your degree has been earned and that knowledge can be applied.

Take it easy. Realize the fact that in the ultimate analysis your knowledge-based qualification may not be directly relevant to your job. We have had chartered accountants assigned to sell toothpaste and soap in the initial period of their careers.

It‘s too early for great things to happen. You can become a decision-maker only after the company has tested your mettle. Concentrate on the task at hand. Pour all your energy, creativity and ingenuity into it and rewards will surely follow.

As you go along, keep checking for the increased presence of the following in yourself:

Empathy. Humour. Courtesy. Building trust. These qualities will go a long way in taking you toward your ultimate goal.

Be patient, wait and work your way up. But steadily.

Only a nudge was needed to make me realize that I cannot be a Concord and reach the top in a few short years. A few unrealistic dreams have been shattered, but now I have my feet firmly on

the ground. I don‘t want to be left behind but I am also very practical when I say that I am not in a

hurry to overtake my seniors.

A cousin of mine began his career by selling threads, from shop to shop from tailor to tailor. He struggled hard. He changed jobs gradually working in different sectors. Slowly he established his reputation as a slogger, as a person with total moral and financial integrity; a result producer.

With each change of job he increased his level of responsibility and grew. Today he is the Corporate Head of Marketing enjoying sterling benefits and commanding a powerful reputation.

From the same family I have a nephew who was in a hurry to make millions. He changed jobs. He crossed lines, sacrificed values and integrity and ultimately became a reject.

It is essential to understand that we need to work our way up positively with a combination of the

hare and the tortoise.‖

Authentic Statement


Note: On a separate page.

Don’t compete or compare yourself with others.

Set your standards.

Raise the bar each time

for yourself, with yourself.

Give yourself stretch goals. Be conscious that at each step you have to build your capabilities.


In our organizational journey, we need to leave our footprints in the sands of time. We must plan our careers in such a way that we do things which nobody has done before. Also, which those following us will find difficult to emulate. We must move from the routine. Everything that is done must have our own stamp. For this, you need to ...

Be An Achiever

― Give the work to her: She gets things done‖.

  • D ecide what is it that you desirethere deep down in the belly. Is there a fire? An urge to excel, an ambition to soar quickly, surely, definitely. Yes? Then, go for it. Discard security, safety. Go in for real results. Leave your footprints in the sands of time as marked by your company and corporation.

The most important competencies that motivate, push and drive achievers are:

An urge to succeed, raise standards to a superlative level. Absolute commitment to plans, goals, targets. Unwilling to accept no compromise or dilution in results. Great positivity, looking for the brighter side, becoming a risk taker (though a prudent one), taking the initiative to put forth new ideas, new systems, new analytical techniques and ultimately new procedures and products in place. Ability of getting over obstacles, problems and road blocks by the sheer desire to succeed.

Look for ways to extend the boundaries of your work area. Increase the area of your influence and acceptance. Learn to enrich your work life by extending/adding to your Key Result Areas.

Go ahead. Just do it. Take charge. The world is yours.

As a young retail merchandiser, I had made it a point to introduce at least one new item a month and ensure it is sold. My aim was to achieve, achieve and achieve, more than anyone else had done before me.

Twenty five years later, people still remember me and my youthful enthusiasm. I have carried the

‗Achiever‘ label with me throughout my journey.

Authentic Statement


I have heard seniors tell the younger generation “go by the rules. Don’t be in a hurry to take risks. See that you “fit in”. don’t try to overestimate or over perform. It does not pay in the long run. I wish such seniors would keep their counsel home. I also shudder to think what sort of achievers their children will make.

No. Go. Achieve. If you don’t take a risk you will be safe but remain exactly where you are.

At the end of the day it is all about attitude, the attitude to win, to achieve, to make a mark and move on. It is something that is within all of us. It needs to be brought out through introspection self- awareness and a deep down desire to achieve, to succeed. Go! Grab Success.

Remember you can shape your destiny. You can influence the path your career will ultimately take. You must have a positive approach at all times. You must inculcate, breed, induce the killer instinct, the achiever instinct within yourself. Therefore you have no choice; you have to be ...

A Winner Always


ou must have the success mind-set. Have the profile of a winner. Plan, goal-set, and work towards winning. Don‘t let a setback bring you down. Learn from it. Recreate in your mind the event or process that didn‘t work as you had expected and identify what went wrong.

Create your learning map from this. Use this education to advantage, i.e., apply your education to the process of success and failure. Come out as a winner. Have an action plan and live it. Always be in charge of your career, more importantly, in control of your life.

Be a good communicator. Communication and presentation skills form a very important part of a successful career profile. Knowledge, expertise, and opinions are only a part of the game. The important part is conveying these effectively through appropriate presentation skills.

Keep your presentation simple, but keep it straight. Keep it short, attractive yet impressive.

Avoid jargon and legalese. While speaking, avoid ‗shoulds‘, ‗mights‘ etc., because they do not show resolve and intent. On the contrary, they generate vagueness. Instead use ‗can‘, ‗must‘ and

‗will‘. They mirror your confidence and resolve to attain to what you suggest. Always come across as a positive person.

Most importantly, don‘t insist that you are right. Give freedom to others to disagree with you.

Whilst facing a contentious issue, develop the art of separating the person from the behaviour, the person from the issue. Leave the person alone and attack the issue.

Seek guidance from seniors. Benefit from their experience. If you feel you need the help of

someone senior, other than your immediate supervisor, seek an appointment. Don‘t just barge in.

The person may be busy, occupied, tense, under pressure, or simply too ego-oriented to offer help at the first go. Consult your supervisor/mentor.


Once you meet the concerned senior, make your request after being asked to do so and define the time you would require with him/her. The point of such interactions is to learn how he/she grew in the organization. Ask for permission to watch or share his/her ideas.

As a new employee you are bound to see things happening which you are convinced are not proper. Remember that the boss has his/her own point of view that differs from yours. Desist from

the temptation of saying ‗you are wrong‘. In fact, make it a point to banish the word ‗wrong‘ from

your dictionary. Always begin with ‗In my opinion…‘.

A positive attitude and a cheerful disposition ensure that you are perceived as a winner. Take special care to ..

Be seen as part of the solution, not as part of the problem.

After completing my Hotel Management course, I joined the Hospitality Industry and was posted to the kitchen. There I met a guy who was always on the go; learning, exchanging notes, picking up tips and planning more and more exciting menus and recipes. He was a top favourite with everyone particularly the foreigners. He was so mercurial and positive that even his mistakes were tolerated or rather appreciated. He always came out on the top whatever the situation. What a guy!

Authentic Statement

A positive attitude plus a desire to achieve plus a winner‘s instinct equal to thundering Corporate


It is whether in personal life or in professional career imbibing, inculcating a killer instinct, a winner instinct is very essential today.

Look around you and you will find that everybody wants to make a million, get instant fame and be a celebrity. But they are unable to convert their dreams to reality due to sheer lack of effort. They have a laid back attitude, get late promotions and ultimately be left behind. Or change jobs frequently.

The competition is unforgiving at the same time richly rewarding.

Authentic statement.



In your journey to being a Achiever and a Winner, you are likely to come across speed breakers and road blocks. This will slow you down but remember at no point will you give up.

You have got to hang on, persist and persevere and


Diane L.Couto in HBR‘s On Managing Yourself has this to say about Resilience.

―These are dark days: People are losing jobs, taking pay cuts, suffering foreclosure on their homes. Some of them are snapping sinking into depression or suffering a permanent loss of confidence.

But others are snapping back, for example, taking advantage of a lay off to build a new career. What carries them through tough times? Resilience.

Resilient people possess three defining characteristics. They coolly accept the harsh realities facing them. They find meaning in terrible times. And they have an uncanny ability to improvise, making do with whatever‟s at hand.

In deep recessions, resilience becomes more important than ever. Fortunately, you can learn to be


People who have attained their goals and fulfilled their vision are those who practise the three defining characteristics of resilience.

These cannot be taught but have to be inculcated by you through personal energy and strong perseverance. In other words, the World and Success is before you.

Invest and reap the harvest.


As a new entrant you will naturally work with a very high degree of zeal and enthusiasm. Organizations need dedication and commitment but too much of everything is normally dysfunctional. Excess commitment can lead to excessive involvement. When you are excessively and compulsively involved, perspective is lost and irrationality steps in. You start thinking that rejection of your suggestion means failure or more importantly, rejection of you as a person. This is going too far. So, be ...

Committed But Not Obsessed


ometimes, when you work with a very high level of commitment and dedication, you cross the line of objectivity and operate irrationally. A failure to get the desired results generates anger and tempers flare.

The feeling that prompts such situations is ‗Because I am committed and dedicated, things

should go my way, things should be done only my way! Whatever I propose must go through. If it

does not, something is drastically wrong with the organization.‘ The stance required here is one of ‗detached involvement‘ as Jagdish Parikh puts it. In other

words, let go. Do not hang on to the proposal or issue as though it were your life. When, you and your proposal or issue become a single entity it becomes difficult to differentiate the person from the issue or proposal and frustration enters.

Normally, such situations are called ‗prestige issues‘. The proposal or issue gets super- upgraded to a prestige issue, instead of retaining its original identity of a simple proposal. You are not being asked not to be dedicated or committed but to stop from getting so involved that it results in over-commitment and loss of a rational approach.

We once had a young colleague who was exceptionally brilliant. He loved expositions and would talk endlessly to prove his point. He never let go an issue. People avoided him like plague. His batchmate was an average guy with excellent social skills. He made such an impression on the seniors that he was their pet. Naturally, his growth was phenomenal. So its important that we are easy-going and a joy to be with at the same time result oriented, rather than being obsessed with our work.

You are responsible for the proposal, the project, but you are not the proposal and rejection of the proposal is not rejection of you. Remember, very rarely in organizations are results produced only by individuals and there are other considerations to a proposal rather than just its contents. Such as:

Tactical and strategic considerations, political issues and implementation feasibility.

Personal career goals of seniors.

Organizational exigencies, goals and strategies.

Interdepartmental realities.

Cost and budgetary considerations.

Risk of failure due to the innovative content of the proposal and leading-edge technology involved.


Excessive involvement creates a feeling that you lack information and do not see the problem in its full complexity. Others may have access to information or data that you do not have; they may be in a position to recognize priorities and criteria you are unaware of. Therefore, you lose out if you are operating with excessive involvement. You will win if you operate with detached involvement.

Whenever you take up an issue, remember to differentiate between context and content. The content may be perfect but the context may be off the mark. It is essential to keep both in mind.

A young garment export executive turned everything into a prestige issue. Her desire to always win blinded her to the cultural differences of the buyers. She always forced her designs and colour schemes on the customers. She argued so well that they accepted them out of exasperation but never returned. When last seen she was arguing with the boss on why she should not be sacked.

Display ownership towards the solution of the problem that you see, but do not assume parenthood. Avoid getting related to the issue by blood. Treat it as a friend, a close friend but nothing more.

Be committed but by no means obsessed.

‗Unattached involvement‘ is such a good concept. Earlier I used to fight tooth and nail till my proposals were through. My boss hated me for this and I had stopped getting satisfaction from my job. Now that my whole approach has changed, I get a lot more job satisfaction even though all my proposals are not accepted. I feel that the quality of my work life has also improved.

Authentic Statement

I cannot understand why these youngsters keep on pushing their thoughts and views at me all the time. If I disagree with them they accuse me of disliking them. But we have a new MBA who seems to have attended some workshop in college. He gives his best, yet does not make it an issue of life and death. He leaves it to me.

Authentic Statement

―A classic case of obsessed ownership was a Dean in one of the colleges. She was so obsessed

with power, with the need to control that she overlooked the need to contribute to the benefit of the

students. It was a manic need. Students were forced to compromise values and do her biddings. Seeing this was a tragedy especially since she was very well qualified.

Commitment, involvement is good up to a point. It becomes destructive as it reaches obsession‖.

Authentic statement.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni puts it beautifully when he says that “We should want to win. We should give our 100%. But there is no need to be desperate for victory.”

Aim is to excel and win.


Note: On a separate page.

Learn something new identify and build competencies for the next role. Do an exercise in self awareness and opt for the next role accordingly. Know your strengths, do a swat analysis and move upwards steadily but very surely.


Work can be done in two waysdo it yourself, or get it done from others. Either way, it is the results that count. The future is unlimited when, in addition to your hard work, the management recognizes your competence. So ...

Be Competent

  • C ompetence involves performing a task to pre-set parameters.

It not only involves a ‗skill‘ to work, but also the ‗will‘ to perform to the best of your


Skill, hard work, knowledge, aptitude, and attitude integrate to create competence. If even one of them is missing, competence suffers. Remember ultimate competence implies absolute personal excellence. Nothing less. No compromise. No dilution. No reduction of standards.

You have all the competence you need in you. We all have. Bring it out in large measures; pour it out from the bottomless container of your competence. Competence is both real and potential. It is up to you to manifest the potential inherent in you. Bring it out with a bang! Aim for the top.

In the corporate world today competencies is a rich mantra. HR systems and sub systems are moving to measurable matrix and competencies is one of them.

Irrespective of the role list down the core competencies of your job responsibilities and get to work to developing these competencies. It is not overnight but the time invested guarantees rich returns.

In the older order it was a complement to hear ― he is a hard worker‖ ― he works tirelessly‖

Today the same choice of words could be detrimental to career progression. The words today are

―competence‖ ―delivery‖ ― reaching out to solve problems‖ Do this and you will be left with only one choice to succeed.

  • I was always an in-tray and out-tray manager—functionally good that‘s all. I didn‘t much care for developing core competencies. Now that I have to compete with the younger generation, my

incompetence is glaringly evident. With their conceptual and analytical skills they will make excellent leaders and I will be ignored and left behind.

Authentic Statement


Note:: on a separate page

Changing roles

As you go up the ladder roles will change accept the changing roles as a challenge as a

fantastic learning opportunity. Adapt adjust to change. Don’t be closed to relocation. Cultural learning in each region is India’s rich heritage.

So go ahead. Don’t be afraid of risks and accept change with self confidence.


An organization is a storehouse of various types of assignments and activities. Sometimes, a new entrant is tested through tough assignments; at other times, given routine jobs till he/she creates confidence in the seniors about his/her competencies and abilities. Take the initiative and go ahead deliberately, rather than sit back and receive what is handed over to you. You can do this when you:

Look For Challenges

I have been doing my work so well. I have really tried to fit in. In fact, I have not changed anything and have continued all the laid-down routines perfectly. But, they still haven‘t promoted me.

Live a routine life with routine assignments and you get a routine career path.

I love challenges and I go out of my way to pick challenging situations. I love to take risks, in fact, I like to create challenging situations. This gets me noticed. My seniors have recognized my potential and mettle.

Pick challenging situations and handle them successfully and the organization will pick you for a promotion. Look for challenges and learn to meet them. Create challenging situations and extract success from them. Do not have a laid back attitude at the workplace.

You are young, on the go and your career graph is upward directed. So take the initiative. Create new ideas, new products, new processes, new activities. Bring a newness to all that you do. Get the spotlight focused on you. Make the organization realize that it has made the right choice and is lucky to have you on board.

Remember that in your earlier journey at the college level, taking initiative was not a cause for reward. You did exactly as you were told and were rewarded for obedience. Toeing the line was important.

Not necessarily so in an organization. Achievers, winners have one thing in common: they constantly take the initiative, create opportunities to ‗impact‘ their environment and the organization. They don‘t look for one single great achievement. They hoard in their bags numerous, small, regular achievements.

Look at yourself frequently and ensure that you are right out there in the field playing hard. Cheering from the stands as a spectator never got anybody the best player award.


Remember every challenge accepted and overcome, every challenge successfully handled will give you tons of credit to anchor your identity. Just step out. Act. Take charge. Challenge, change and the world will be at your feet. My HRD head was a tough customer. He used to tell me ―I work 17-18 hours a day. Anyone

wanting to be on my team must be willing to work at least 14-15 hours a day. I don‘t want my

people to agree with my plans and suggestions;

I want

them to improve


them. I seek

dissenters and not yes-men.‖ No doubt he became the Chairman and the Director of the

organization. Can you meet these expectations?

Authentic Statement

Be remembered when there is a crisis or a challenge or a crunch of time for delivery. Create your brand as a challenge seeker, a person who does not step back when the going gets tough.

All of us are in this game to make an impact, to make a career and rise. Therefore shun the comfort zone and take on challenges. Create opportunities with a challenging content, deliver and see what the corporate world has to offer to you.

Ratan Tata calls it walking the extra mile. The following extract from a media report will clarify what it means to create and accept challenges. Ratan Tata was speaking about the car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover (JLR)

Ratan Tata states ―Also questioned the work ethic of British Managers, saying they did not ―go the extra mile‖ unlike their Indian counterparts. ― it‘s a work ethic issue. In my experience, in

both Corus and JLR, nobody is willing to go the extra mile, nobody,‖ Tata said. ― I feel if you have come from Mumbai to have a meeting and the meeting goes on till 6 pm, I would expect that

you won‘t, at 5 o‘ clock, say, ‗Sorry, I have my train to catch. I have to go home.‖ Stating that things were different back home, the Tata group chairman added, ― if you are in a

crisis (in India). It means working till mid night, you would do it. The worker in JLR seems to be

willing to do that: the management is not.‖ He said earlier, JLR‘s entire engineering group would

be empty on Friday evenings. The Sunday Times May 22, 2011

Understand the importance of putting that extra ounce of energy and effort, of accepting challenging situations.

Similarly we have Martin Crowe, the cricket player from New Zealand who at the age of 48 wants to play competitive cricket again since he is not satisfied with a laid back life and is looking for challenges in his life.

Today a great challenge is keeping abreast with technology, with the tools we use in the workplace. Don‘t shirk from this challenge of generation ―Y‖.


You are making a mark, you are getting noticed. People are thinking well of your capabilities and competencies, and you got picked for that important assignment. So ...

Seek Special Assignments


ood news. Great to be handpicked. Positive happening. But hold on! Don‘t just jump into it. Ask questions, the most important being:

What is the ultimate objective of the project/assignment/presentation? Who desired this project/presentation? What is the timeframe? Whose help do I seek?

Where will I get the data/inputs resources, etc., from? What are the pitfalls to watch out for?

Generating such questions and answering them gives you clarity. You will understand the assignment thoroughly. But avoid going at it completely on your own. Take help. Share with those who count. They will ultimately share your credit when you succeed.

Look around and seek to relate various activities. Get a feel of the big picture and see how your job/project/work assignment relates to the big goal/target. (This goal/target could relate to your unit, location, department or the organization). This will widen your perspective and vision. You will have a better understanding of your job responsibilities. Relating it to the big picture will help you enrich your job.

Learn to look at the larger landscape, at the entire canvas.

As soon as I understood the significance of being noticed I sought opportunities where I would stand out so that my bosses would take note. So far I have been quite successful because each time something special happens I become part of it. I only hope this continues to happen even when annual increments and promotions are being decided.

Authentic Statement

As a CEO, I like go-getters, people who are aggressive and are willing to make a sacrifice to prove their mettle. After undergoing the special workshop we organize, I find that a lot of seekers are created

Authentic Statement

―Special assignments are not for ordinary people. They are for people who are special. So prove

to me that you are able to handle additional load, additional pressure in the form of special

assignments. Then I will mark you out for special activities and of course special rewards.‖

Authentic Statement.


Active networking assists in netting special high visibility assignments.

Authentic Statement.


Note: On a separate Page.

Attitude for career growth:

Refuse to be stagnant move before you get stale: This movement can be internal (rotational) or external.

Look for additional responsibilities more challenging job content project your work and negotiate rewards.

The first two years are learning years.

The next one year is consolidation of learning and career growth all the time thereafter.


Authentic statement.

Speed, accuracy and completeness are the hallmarks of excellent work. They also add to the dependability and reliability parameters of the personal brand image. To learn and achieve this we must learn and practice ...

Staff Work: Prompt And Complete

Learn to work in-depth bring out all the details rather than surface surfing.


ompleted Staff Work‘ means putting up a proposal, a project, a suggestion that is complete

in all respects. Completed staff work involves doing the homework, gathering data, analysing the same and generating alternative solutions, one of which is recommended for acceptance with justification thereof.

This is one area which is neglected in the corporate world. The Gen Y is in a hurry to obtain decisions therefore puts together a half- baked proposal seeking decisions. Incomplete staff work is a bane and entails loss of manhours due to repeat work.

While it is appreciated that looking at files, accumulating data is both boring and cumbersome it is the necessary nutrition of Corporate work specially where decisions are required.

Completed staff work is always time-consuming since work has to be done thoroughly. Therefore, do not be in a hurry to put up the proposal/project/suggestion and be done with it as if it is a weight to be taken of your chest.

Incomplete staff work :

Is done in a hurry.

Reflects lack of homework, detailed study and application of mind.

Lacks thoroughness.

Does not generate all the alternatives but recommends the first one that comes to mind.

Is of almost no use to the boss/management (except being an irritant).

Reeks of casualness, lack of interest and involvement; tantamounts to doing work without commitment.

Therefore while you are on projects, be prompt, in-depth, studious and accurate with a broad

perspective/prospective focus on the ‗key result area‘. Quickly identify and obtain data from

various sources. Collect, select and organize data to get the outline for your first draft.


After the first draft is completed, sit down and think of any questions that could strike the reader. Incorporate the answers into the text of your proposal. Keep supplementary data ready for reference and also for responding to queries.

Accuracy is the hallmark of good completed staff work. One secret of success behind good completed work is to sleep on a proposal overnight. Ruminate over the data and review it again the next morning. You will be in a much stronger position with regard to culling relevant facts for your report.

In case the proposal/project/suggestion is lengthy, it may be useful to place an Executive Summary at the beginning.

Though completed staff work is time-consuming, it needs to be prompt and, therefore, does not allow for procrastination. Completed staff work is the backbone of any management decision.

Therefore, the greater the onus of the decision, the greater the depth and quality required of the staff work. It will spell disaster for the organization if the subordinate and the boss are weak or lacking in completed staff work.

Be prompt with the staff work and the management will be prompt with the promotion you want so much.


The younger generation have a typical characteristic in as much as it wants to be perfect, they want to achieve and be successful in each and every activity undertaken. There is no space for failure or mistakes. Therefore, at times, making a mistake or failing is a disaster. No ! Failing is not such a calamity. What you must understand is that you have to develop skills to ...

Move On From Mistakes

Making mistakes is no crime. Not learning from them is criminal.

  • I have seen Generation Y collapse after making a mistake. They behave as if the world has come to an end. The earth will stop rotating.

There can be no success without learning from failure.

Only those who do something make mistakes. Inaction and inactivity, or maintaining the status quo never produce mistakes. Remember that a person who makes mistakes is more highly thought of than the one who goes for a safe, error-free approach. Leaders handle mistakes with humility and grace. Since you are aiming to reach the top, pick up the habit of moving on from mistakes and ingrain this into your system.

Often, times are bad and you get into a bad patch. Even your most well intentioned and well

thought out actions go wrong. This is a reality for which you are not responsible. Don‘t let these

setbacks upset you. You must have the maturity to accept them. Nothing that is negative lasts long, so don‘t let it get you down.

When an unfavourable set of circumstances besets you learn to accept it and more importantly, learn from it. It is always essential that one learns from a mistake or failure. Therefore, when you take up a challenge and succeed, rejoice and go ahead. When you take up a challenge and do not succeed, make it a learning opportunity, do mid-course correction and still go ahead.

Is there a religion anywhere in the world which propagates that mistakes are sins and therefore will be punished. Obviously not Mistakes are only to prove the imperfection of the human race. I have seen Generation Y permitting mistakes made a few years ago pilot and effect their current life and decisions. One must remember that the past doesn‘t come back and the mistakes made in the past remain embedded in the past. Therefore learn from the mistake and let them go into the past ..


Mistakes are lessons, if you can learn from them. Treat them as teachers.


And remember that mistakes are not failures.You make a mistake , learn and move ahead.













































achieve this is to ...

Confront Creatively

  • C onflicts are endemic to organizational life. They are stock features of the corporate lifescape. People normally shove a conflict, an issue or a difference of opinion under the carpet and convince themselves that no problem exists.

When you join an organization, you will have many fallouts and conflicts. But don‘t shove them under the carpet but face them squarely i.e., confront. Confrontation is a very useful behavioural style. It does not mean getting into a hot argument or having a fight. It means facing an issue with maturity and sensitivity. When handled in any other fashion, confrontation degenerates into a fight.

Learn to separate the issue from the person(s) concerned. Examine the issue, attack the issue and leave the person alone. For example, when you do not agree with what the boss is doing or

with a decision that he/she has taken, it is best to use an expression such as ‗I have a different

point of view‘ or ‗Can we look at the problem in a different way?‘ Be very careful not to use the word ‗wrong‘ because the most sophisticated form of professional suicide is telling the boss he/she

is wrong.

Remember, you have just joined the organization and the boss is senior to you in age, experience and status. He or she is, therefore, unlikely to take very kindly to the label ‗wrong‘. Desist from the temptation of proving the boss wrong and discuss the issue in a mature fashion.

People use different styles and approaches in different situations to manage differences of opinion or conflict. You must learn and practise the following strategies and use the one most appropriate to a given situation.






Therefore, when things go wrong, when there is a conflict, when there is a difference of opinion at the place of work, please remember: confrontation. So, don‘t be afraid to confront constructively; to project yourself in a positive manner. Remember:

Attack the issue and not the person.

Since you are inexperienced, but knowledgeable, examine different points of view, different alternatives. Ask for inputs and insights to solve the problem.


Avoid using derogatory or negative adjectives such as ‗slow‘, ‗incompetent‘, ‗badly handled‘, ‗useless‘ when describing a person or situation.

Ensure feedback is specific, to-the-point and data-based. Try to be non-judgemental.

• A report is never ‗lousy‘ but ‗it needs further improvement‘. Similarly instructions are never ‗half-baked‘ or ‗confusing‘, but rather instructions need to be given / received / asked for in a complete fashion.

Confront. Remember, there can be no movement without friction. So, don’t be afraid to confront constructively.

Confront the isuue with a positive mind. Confront proactively not to seek revenge.


Managing Conflict

onflict is very positive and productive if handled carefully and with care.

  • C Do not get into the rights and wrongs of conflict. Move away from the person and look at the issues. Keep your perceptions under control. Perceptions unless checked and data based

are a source of problems.

Use the technique of ―Talk‖ in handling conflict. Have a face to face and thrash out the issues.

Start the talk by saying that you are more interested in solving the problem and are not at all in the win lose situation. Emphasize the Win Win approach.

The question is how do we create a Win Win approach. This is done by generating alternatives and choosing those which are beneficial to both the parties.

Please remember in an organization when we have negative destructive conflict both the parties lose. The greater loser is the one who is junior and less experienced.

Please remember in a situation of conflict the senior will always get management‘s support. Behind closed doors the senior will be counseled and criticized but in a face to face between management senior and junior the management will support the senior irrespective of the facts of the case.


Part III


(Principle of Success)

New Chapter Editor Macmillan Please place it appropriately in the Book.

Mr. K. Ramkumar Executive Director, ICICI Ban Shares with us his own story which can inspire us to greater Heights

(Mr.Ramkumar (50 years), Executive Director on the Board of ICICI Bank is responsible for Customer Service and Human Resource functions.

Mr. Ramkumar has completed his PGDM from Madras School of Social Work in 1984 and BSC Chemistry in 1982.

Prior to joining ICICI Bank in 2001 Mr. Ramkumar had over 16 years of experience in companies such as Hindustan Aeronautics, Brookebond Lipton India Limited (now Hindustan Unilever Limited) and ICI India Ltd. His work in these companies has mainly been in the areas of Human Resources Management and Production Management.

At ICICI Bank Mr. Ramkumar has been responsible for Human Resource function, initially for the Bank and then for all the companies in the ICICI Group.

He has worked extensively in the areas of recruitment, competency design, succession management, learning and development and Leadership Development. Under his guidance, ICICI Bank has implemented cutting edge practices and methodologies in the domain of leadership development, learning, creation and use of psychometric tools.

Mr. Ramkumar also has extensive experience in the areas of process design and quality management to create scale and efficiency. At ICICI Bank, he has driven cost productivity across the organization through work methodization & norming, and process & structure optimization.

He has joined the Board of Directors with effect from February 1, 2009.)

Looking back and discerning the myth from reality

27 years ago when I embarked on my career, I was no different to those who do so today. I had completed my PG Diploma in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations from Madras


School of Social Work. Unlike these days there were far and few campus offers, at least not in the non IIMs and XLRI. I had to take my share of entrance exams and I got selected as a management trainee in Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd in 1984.

Like most youngsters today, I believed that my post graduation was a passport to success. I was clear that intelligence and knowledge were visas, to teach a thing or two to all those bungling illiterates at HAL. I was some one who could recite chapter and verse in Personnel Management, OB and Labour laws. I was also someone, who by virtue of my graduation in science, more than comprehend technology and engineering. A special brag badge was my ability in quant nothing but 100 ever in math. So the strategist, innovator and reformer had arrived at HAL, to deliver it from its dark ages. I was also some one, who had indefatigable energy and unwavering commitment.

So after the fun called management trainee period -18 months of extra curricular activity was over, I was itching to do the real thing. Transform HAL and change all that was old world personnel management HR had not yet arrived. Every passing day frustrated me. I was consigned to doing menial stuff like processing promotions, drafting petty charge sheets, entering data into the terminal linked to the main frame and checking sheet after sheet of employee data which was being computerized (no digitization language yet). I had to learn DoS, COBAL and Dbase. My date with IR was resolving disputes on canteen service, with the lowly placed executive committee members of the union My out door exercise was, doing the routine adjournment treck to the labour court. Then when back at office, I was drowned in updating personal files, recruiting lowly placed shop floor workers and stenos. My dalliance with compensation was limited to processing pay roll. My never ending love affair with MIS had just begun. Oh! What a waste of a great talent. No opportunity to negotiate the grand wage settlement, still worse could not change the Confidential Reports to Behaviorally anchored Rating scale based performance management, my OD skills were crying for an opportunity, worse of all no opportunity to do career planning and succession management (no talent management terminology yet)

My mentor during this period was Pramod Fernandez, a lawyer by education and not the blue blooded tribe of post graduate in personal management - gift to mankind like me. Pramod did all these and was also spending a lot of time with the union representatives and managers on the

shop floor. He could walk into some one’s room and after a discussion get them to agree to his

proposal. The General Secretary of the Union Mr. Mahadevan (a very tall CPI leader in Bangalore) and some of his most ferocious deputies frequently visited him and sought his advise, the head of the factory (5000 strong employees) the General Manager, was leaning on him to sort out differences amongst his team members. Pramod was the advisor to the head of personnel of the


Bangalore complex (20000 employees in BC) on policies and selection of people for various key positions. He was also the much sought after faculty in the prestigious HAL staff college. I was amused that he never did anything that was taught to us as personnel management. No OD interventions, no career development work, no new design of performance management, nothing that I wanted to do and transform HAL.

Pramod used to draft me to take his case, as a presenting officer in domestic enquiries, He would nudge me to draft a briefing for the lawyers. He would send me to meetings chaired by the 2 powerful DGMs to represent him and solve issues. He would hand over his sessions in the HAL staff college for me to handle it on his behalf. He was heartless to send me to Agra to be gheroed and roughed up by Radhe shyam and Ravindra Singh (4 years later both were dancing at my marriage in Chennai). He even got me to be abused, threatened and almost beaten up by Thoota Vera Raju, the militant head of the contract labour union, by asking me to deal with him and handle a volatile IR issue. A remarkable talent like me was being wasted with drudgery. He one fine day came up with an even cruel punishment. He asked me to work with the shop floor guys and come up with a directory of skills, computerize it and get a program written for identifying the surplus, redeploy them and retrain them into alternate skills. In doing all this I had to cop up the resentment of the union, the endless power politics and posturing by the bosses of those, who were to be declared surplus and also from those, who were to receive and retrain them (left thumb impression type employees to be retrained into electronics and avionics skills). The last one was the worst of all these, to go to Barrackpore in West Bengal and shut 2 departments. What a misery for a great talent- you would call in the modern day a HR talent.

My misery did not end at HAL, it continued at Lipton India ltd and there after in Brookebond Lipton India ltd. Mr. Nirmal Sinha will torture me to read the wage settlements over and over, which I had negotiated first at Trichy then at Kolkata. He would want me to have meetings with ministers and political leaders in the West Bengal, pound the corridors of the labour department and do a VRS. Sanjeev Kathpalia would want me to shut a factory, handle a strike, get into production and improve technical efficiency, impart technical skills to the workers in the shop floor, inculcate quality and productivity orientation, soften the aggressive unions for improved quality & productivity, recruit first level engineers and even handle conflicts amongst the first line managers in the factory. My foolish bravado, led me to sacking the minority union leader, for theft. An hour later, the factory struck work and I was facing a death threat from him. I chickened out and pleaded with Sanjeev and Mr. Sinha, to use the appeal process and reinstate him. The two heartless men instead made me live with the threat for a year and turned me into a hero with the Board of Lipton. The reward turned out to be a punishment. I was sent to Kolkata to handle 3 Unions and an ailing tea factory to squeeze out once again manufacturing efficiencies, quality and productivity. Oh God! What a miserable living, still no OD, no PMS, no behavioral


training, no career management, no psychometry, by now no competency mapping but stuck in the mire of shop floor management.

Long at last I earned my right full place (after 9years) head office posting. I will finally do what I studied for. Personnel Management now called HRD. Alas this was also to be a disappointment. I fell into the hands of another cruel mentor Satish Pradhan. He wanted me to handle Unispan - a HRIS, once again before the PC, entering & checking data and codes. I could not get freedom from MIS generation. I was to coordinate and manage the filling up of a form called MDP - Management Development Plan. The BBLIL merger found me handling, the never ending post merger identification and redeployment of surplus sales force, negotiating with seniors to release

and accept people for key jobs, even drawing out BBLIL’s first Z list (senior Managers who should

be asked to go), recruit first level sales managers. He drafted me into handling the logistics of the

post merger integration workshops. This called for late night sparing sessions with him in one city

after another, on the next day’s training material and flow. I had to cope with his heartless

throwing me down the deep end in these workshops, to stand in and handle an hour of facilitation, only to be roughed up by the senior managers, Finally, I got to coordinate climate surveys, but not the opportunity to design the one, I believed was the best. Once again I found

myself cohabitating with the sales force union.

After 9 years I still could not be a HRD manager for which I studied. I missed out narrating, the many late evening impassioned discussions on policies and the next morning frustration, of my failure in not being able to convince the senior managers. It was Satish, who after making me go through this harrowing lobbying failures, will some how clinch it with the VPs. But there was no HRD at all. It was one miserable networking and power management exercise. Certainly not what

  • I studied and mastered. He tortured me with his endless supply of books and articles nothing

on HRD. He would ask me to convert them into training material and facilitation plans. I never understood why a HRD talent, should waste time with writing cases or preparing training material on marketing planning, sales force productivity, supply chain efficiency, operational excellence etc never relevant areas like recruitment, job evaluation, culture, motivation, change management, compensation design etc.

  • I can assure you that nothing has changed for any of the talented new youngsters, who join

organizations. Most youngsters study and train to be managers, with an aspiration of one day becoming an entrepreneur or reaching the top management. Irrespective of the industry and function, they almost always like I had, yearn to do narrow & specialized technical jobs or rewrite the strategy, complain about long working hours and demanding bosses. We all waste our best 5

to 7 years not understanding that managerial work is:


Data & information organization and systemizing the same

Gaining insights about people and their preference and using it as the bridge to gain

access and influence them Cutting through functional, departmental and organizational boundaries, weaving

through power dynamics, by building human networks and using information, business knowledge and above all relationships, not logic to solve problems inside the organization, so that the customer outside can be served well Smoothly taking over from one’s boss the fleeting opportunities, to play on the big stage

representing him and learning the real art of moving people and organizations Personal credibility, indefatigable energy and unwavering commitment even in the midst

of failures learning to not cop out by blaming the boss or the system Learning to overcome resource limitations & constraints, organize work, relentlessly

focus on execution and improvise ceaselessly Absorbing pressure, personal and professional, maintaining emotional balance and

perseverance under pressure

Implicitly trusting your boss (rare exceptions not withstanding) or the super boss and submitting one-self to be molded by them. If we rigidly hold to our form, any attempt by well,meaning others to mold leads to a break, almost always the new form never materializes Recognizing that functional knowledge in purity is pedantic. It is like cement, which if not mixed with sand and water, will never become concrete. Mere knowledge even if it is applied, without people network and judgment, is like concrete without the steel frame

It took me many years to figure these out. The most fulfilling part of my story happened in December 2008. I was nominated to be appointed as an Executive Director on the Board of ICICI Bank. A profile was written about me, to be put up to the Board’s appointment and Governance committee. It was shown to me. It was only then I realized, how immature I had been, in not having understood the true import Pramod, Mr.Sinha, Sanjeev, Satish, Kalpana and Mr. Kamath, of my mentors’ actions. The simple fact, that they were molding me out of my rigid HR form, into being a Leader, had escaped my grasp.

Looking back, I long for those extended evenings, well into 11 pm with biscuits, peanuts, potato chips and ice tea for dinner, Satish’s cigarette smoke filled room, the stimulating duels and his exasperation when he called me a moron. I now know that the first 7 years, are an extended internship for growing out of functional fixation and learning the first steps to being a Leader.


Note: On a separate page

Now The Future is a Matter of Choice, Not Chance!


From Pain to Pleasure

  • I n an organization, you are likely to undergo varied experiences. These are by no means unique and some, or most of them are undergone by most of us as we move up the organizational ladder.

We have already acquainted ourselves with various situations and experiences we confront in

organizational life which are not likely to be very positive at the feeling level. We have classified

them as typical ‗Pains‘.

In the following pages, I will share with you the ways in which you can work through them and convert them into pleasures instead. The ultimate aim is to help you become more functional in the organization. If you religiously follow these strategies to the point of internalizing them you will hit the road of success and will have little to complain thereafter. Remember, this conversion from pain to pleasure is squarely your responsibility.

You are in charge.

The pattern of self-perceived talents, motives and values serves to guide, constrain, stabilize and

integrate the person‘s career.

Anchor Your Career

Edgar H. Schein

W hen you enter an organization, some of you may find the atmosphere, climate and culture comfortable and conducive to performance. Others may find the same organization unfit to

work for. This is because each of you has different capabilities and competencies and is pushed and driven by different motives and goals. You also have a unique set of ambitions and values. What holds you to an organization or drives you away is the career anchor/s you subscribe to consciously or otherwise.

A career anchor functions in your work life as a way of organizing experience, it involves identifying your area of contribution in the long run and generating criteria for the kinds of work settings in which you want to function. It also serves to identify the patterns of ambition and criteria for success by which you will measure yourself. People even from a fairly homogenous background such as a graduate management school totally differ in how they view their careers.

It becomes crucial


career aspirants to come to recognize these

differences so that

psychological contracts can be developed which accurately reflect their needs and expectations.

There are various types of career anchors, some apply to you, some don‘t. It is always useful

to identify your own career anchor/s and work towards fulfilling the needs that your own particular anchor/s generates. Here are a few of the more frequently adopted career anchors.



This is a very common anchor and relates to job security, steady and regular income and time- related career progression. If you are result-oriented, willing to take risks and believe in achievement-related career progression, and do not want to sacrifice your personal ambitions at the altar of the organization, then this anchor may not be yours.

On the other hand, if you are willing to sacrifice freedom, initiative and go by the rule book with time-related promotions, then this is the career anchor you subscribe to.

Technical/Functional Competence

Here, the actual content of the job becomes important, since you intend to use your technical and functional competence on the job. It is important to understand that other than this competence, you may or may not look for other motivators and satisfiers.

Personal Growth

If you view life in the organization as a continuous process of personal growth, increasing your knowledge, competence, capabilities and abilities, this is your career anchor. In the absence of these opportunities, you would consider your career stagnant and would not care to work for such an organization.

Recognition and Rewards.

Generation Y has an issue with this. All their activities must be recognized (in public)and duly rewarded. This creates a feeling of belongingness of ownership and discourages attrition.

Status and Position-related Perks

This is a very strong career anchor and should appeal to you if you are willing to take risks and work continuously towards going up the ladder, obtaining additional perks and benefits at each step. Jobs with high visibility, where the visiting card carries respect and credibility, fall within the ambit of this career anchor.

Freedom to Operate

People with entrepreneurial attitudes and skills, who want to become ‗entrepreneurs‘, relate very well to this career anchor. Government jobs, public sector organizations, where rules are more important than results, will create discomfort for those who subscribe to this career anchor.

Work Climate and Culture: Toxic free

You are anchored to your career by work climate and culture, seek peace of mind, limited stress, good interpersonal relationships and a t-free workplace. Other factors and parameters come second. People who relate to this career anchor usually retire mentally a few years after joining the organization.

The culture and the climate must be toxic free; free of bullying of the Boss operating from his inadequacies to create a fault finding climate.

Power and Leadership Fulfilment

As the name suggests, this career anchor is for those who are prepared to pay the price of power and who have leadership qualities. Such people only want to climb the ladder of success in the shortest possible time and would not mind cutting a few throats en route.

This list is only suggestive and not exhaustive. Try and see what makes you tick, what factors will make you hang on to a job/organization and what factors will pull you away.


While security would appear to be the most attractive career anchor in these days of acquisitions and mergers, downsizing and job insecurity, you may like to carry out a quick self- analysis on your needs and aspirations and locate areas in your organization where your career anchor is fulfilled. Alternatively, it may be the best thing to look for some other organization. Remember, job satisfaction contributes to personal well-being and vice versa and each anchor has both pluses and minuses.

Anchor your career where raging storms cannot capsize your career.

I changed jobs after six months though the environment was quite stress-free and I had a well defined role. But the excitement was missing. I am now with an advertising agency where there is a high level of stress, anxieties and running after deadlines. Fortunately, after examining my driving career anchors, I was prepared for this change. Each organization has its own profile and culture, I just had to find one that suited me.

Authentic Statement

― Generation Y finds it fashionable to change jobs; while we are not advocating a lifetime single

job like old times it is important that we have some job anchors.

The initial years should be years of learning and responsibility. If you find that your learning curve has flattened out of if you are not being given responsible assignments, find the reason why and try to remedy the situation.

If it doesn‘t work out then leave. Frequent job changes in the CV creates a wrong impression.

Each change must be a step upwards, additional responsibility and more money. After about 8

years get steady and start creating a solid career. Becoming a CEO in mid forties is sometimes

considered to be ―late‖.

Achievement, recognition, growth and money make great anchors. They also make great ―change agents‖

How can I be happy in my career? How can I be sure that my relationship with my family is an enduring source of happiness? And how can I live my life with integrity?

If you’re not guided by a clear sense of purpose, You’re likely to fritter away your time and energy on obtaining the most tangible, short term signs of achievement. not what’s really important to you.

If they don’t figure out their purpose they will just sail off without a rudder and get buffeted in

the very rough seas of life. Clarity about their purpose will trump knowledge of activity based costing, balanced scorecards, core competence, disruptive innovation, the four Ps and the five forces.

HBR’s 10 Must Reads “On Managing Yourself”

Clayton M Christensen

Therefore create a strategy for Your r Life


Present Yourself


ou must develop your presence. When you enter a room full of people, your presence must be felt. Presence is your inner strength coupled with personal presentation (PP). Let us spend time on this.

The most important item of personal presentation is appearance and grooming. I know of a brilliant software engineer who had numerous people problems. But he had no clue why. I immediately saw what the problem was. It was his appearance. He believed that intellectuals should be a little dishevelled; uncombed hair, a little stubble, overgrown nails and soiled bootsI despatched him to a parlour for some dusting. It was effective. Within months,

Suggested Colour Schemes for Gentlemen



Predominant Colour In Tie




White, Light

Blue, Maroon,

Black, Grey,




Ivory, Pale Pink

Grey, Silver




White, Tan,

Brown, Tan,

Beige, Brown


Cream, Lemon

Rust, Red,



White, Light

Grey, White,

Black, Grey



Blue, Grey, Ivory,

Silver, Rust,

Lemon, Pale Pink, Watery Green



White, Light

Blue, Maroon,

Black, Grey





Pale Grey


White, Ivory,

Olive, Blue

Black, Olive,


Cream, Watery





Olive, Brown,


Source Unknown

He got a big promotion. So take care of your personal getup. Look well groomed and taken care of. For gentlemen that means combed/brushed hair, clean-shaven, flawless chins or a brushed back beard as well as clean and fitting clothes. The tie, belt, socks and shoes must be impeccably matched/contrasted.

For the ladies, it means minimum make up with a very fresh and pleasant appearance. I remember a promotion interview when a woman waded in laden with gold ornaments and wrapped


in an expensive silk saree. No doubt she was dressed to kill; kill her own chances. The jewellery made such an impression on the panel that she was summarily rejected.

In some cultures, grooming is not encouraged for ladies. Things are different in organizations. A smart appearance is a must. You should be well clad, well shod but not overwrought. Make sure the accessories match. Purse/sandals/footwear must agree with one another.

Gentlemen please ...

Make sure the trousers fall on the shoes. Avoid white trousers. Sober cufflinks are always welcome. Keep the collar straight and crease-free. Use a spotless, white handkerchief. Complement trousers with suitable shoes. Use a belt of the same colour as the shoes. A wallet should ideally complement the belt. When wearing a tie, button the shirt‘s collar button. Make sure the tie touches the belt. Wear a neat tie pin with a tie. Button all the buttons of a collar-down shirt. Always button your cuffs.

Accessories must complement your outfit colour-wise.

Source Unknown

Both men and women employees must never wear colours that are complete strangers to one another; which do not match or do not contrast.

Personal conduct is an equally important aspect of personal presentation. At all times try to display polished manners and polite behaviour. Always remain poised, steady, suave and smooth. Body language must remain under control. Gestures and Postures should be expressive yet pleasant to behold. I am reminded how my body language troubled me in the past. I did not realize that I had developed a habit of swinging on my heels. My body language went out of control and with the constant motion, I was not able to establish eye-contact. I became a butt of ridicule and nobody took me seriously in spite of my seniority. I had to work for days to remove the label of

‗dancing manager‘. So mind your body language.

Learn to make your greeting respectful, formal yet with warmth and with personal touch. Especially when your subordinates are senior to you in age. Shake hands firmly, not in a limp fashion. Learn to bend appropriately without bowing.

Tact and basic courtesy are vital. Use a smile as often as possible. When making a point, be clear, concise and wherever required, firm. Be assertive but not aggressive. Modulate your voice and expression to suit the occasion. Avoid being raucous. Practice effective eye-contact while

talking. Pick up public speaking skills, clear expression, and avoid ―uhs, aahs and umms‖.


It is useful to feel and display enthusiasm, interest, and keenness in whatever is happening around you. Ask questions. Contribute your views. Participate in life. This will show others that you are alive and concerned. People should find you lively, easy to get along and pleasant to be with. Don‘t escape into a private world of fantasies or much worse pull a gloomy, grief stricken face.

A good sense of humour also goes a long way in creating a positive impression. But when being humorous:

Avoid making fun of a person, caste or community.

Avoid making the other person feel belittled.

Avoid humorous put-downs.

Avoid off-colour jokes, especially, the bawdy ones.

As far as possible, poke fun and laugh at yourself.

In personal presentation, the overall approach, planning and direction should be to create an impression, to leave a mark. In this era of high competition, the rewards are few and contestants numerous. You have to stand out in a crowd, get noticed and be remembered when the goodies are being distributed. Effective personal presentation will make you ‗visible‘ in a positive way. Poor presentation, on the other hand, makes you stand out as a sore thumb.

I remember a luncheon we had in honour of an Army General. My young friend attended it wearing sandals and without his shirt tails tucked in. On top of it, he was the first to reach the table and stack his plate as if food was running out of stock. The impression and reputation he created for himself that evening took years to erase.

Self-confidence, high self-esteem and a positive self-imageall add a special touch to your personality. These take time to develop and do not appear overnight. Plan and work towards a powerful personality. First impressions are made on the basis of your appearance and remember,

First impressions are often lasting impressions. In fact it is sometimes said that the first five to ten seconds are crucial for making or breaking an impact.

There is a huge conflict between the older generation and the generation Y since the latter shy away from formal togs. I was consulting in a firm where a fresh engineering graduate wore the same T shirt for 3 days. Correcting him was fraught with danger.

Similarly a 3 / 4 days stubble is the male hunk norm. Sometimes organizations don‘t want male

hunks. They want performers Finally it is a personal choice and the acceptable corporate norms and culture.

My sales team has really changed its profile, since we spoke to them about the impact and scope of personal presentation. Each member is smartly turned out and is also always able to make a very positive impression. I am really proud to lead them.

Authentic Statement

Before criticising the dress style of Generation Y remember what how your Parents commented on your drain pipe trousers, your bell bottoms, your collar turned up, shirts and Elvis Presley Hairstyle. Each Generation has its own style and therefore let us refrain from commenting but make sure that the youngsters stick to the corporate dress code and personal presentation.

Authentic Statement.


I was training in a five star when the Management Trainee came to the hotel with his hair done up in ―spikes‖, chewing gum vigorously.

The Manager commented that this was not acceptable during duty in the hospitality industry.

The Trainee was asked to go to the locker room and set his hair right. Or alternatively apply for leave.

The Management Trainee applied for leave. Its not a question of values, it‘s a question of rebelling against authority and making obedience a prestige issue .

Authentic Statement ..


Good marketing strategy requires a product to be ‗positioned‘ suitably so that an

image is created in the minds of the people. Since you too are a product, you must practise the art of ...

Positioning: Marketing Yourself the Right Way

Professionals manage their Careers consciously.


he strategy of positioning is actually marketing yourself to the Management, to the Team, to the Boss. You must be able to speak about yourself in a skilful fashion that is both impressive and impactful.

You will not have much competition in this area because very few practitioners in organizations use positioning as a career management tool. You must emphasize upon your assets upon your positive points your experience and your personal learning in the corporate world. You must do this in a way that your senior management is aware of your profile and picks you up when the opportunity is right.

Employees get the job based on their experience, their qualifications and related background. This is just the outer label of the packing of the product. The organization determines the quality of the product strictly based on the performance at the work place. Therefore when marketing yourself please remember that there has to be a direct integration between the positioning and the performance.

Positioning implies favourably influencing the perception of the product or services in the mind of a target customer. A product that is attractive and has catchy features will make a stronger impact on the mind of a customer.


A product may have myriad features, but you have to select and project those which meet

customer expectations and prove useful to them. Given the intense competition, the product‘s

success will be determined by the positioning strategy and the strength of its brand equity. Not many young professionals, as well as those in very senior positions, know what it means

to try ‗positioning‘ themselves. As a consequence they do not make the impact they could have.

I remember mentioning to the GM of a company, the importance of positioning a product in a successful marketing campaign. He immediately said, ‗Positioning is not a problem. I will send the transport, you have the product positioned wherever you want and in whatever quantities you


Remember you too are a product. You have to try positioning yourself in such a way that you conjure up in the minds of the management those attributes that are related to excellence in performance. This will prove to the organization that you are a great product.

When you mention Close-Up toothpaste, you think of fresh breath, shining teeth and self- confidence. A Mercedes Benz brings to mind affluence, comfort and exclusivity. A Mont Blanc pen stands for smooth writing and status.

On similar lines, when your senior colleagues think of you the recall should be related to your personal brand equity which, as mentioned earlier (but bears repeating) should reflect:

Authenticity. Genuineness. Reliability. Trustworthiness. Result-orientation.

These are the attributes that organizations look for in a new recruit. (Qualities like hard-work, sincerity, loyalty and dedication are assumed to be present as screened during the selection process). So now go ahead and launch yourself with a great personal marketing plan and prove to the organization that you are a top product, an entity that the organization can be proud of and do very poorly without.

More importantly, direct your positioning plans at those who matter, who count and are sensitive enough to be impacted upon.

Take charge. Position. Launch. Promote.

After the talk on ‗Transition‘ in college, I went back and reread the chapter on Positioning. I

understood the importance of approaching a job differently. Today, in my first ten months in the organization, I actually planned my own ‗positioning‘ with each activity and I find my actions make an impact while others just go ahead without thinking.

Authentic Statement


When you enter an organization, the setup already exists, people are in place, know each other and relate well. You are the new entrant. It is up to you to create your place in the new space, to become part of the setup. Become a vibrating, contributing member of the team. For this, you will have to try to ...

Create Your Own Identity

Let people know you and think of you as a Professional.

I have been in this organization for three years. Nobody has made an effort to get to know me. In fact, even my boss is not totally aware of the work that I do. I think I am wasting my life even though I am contributing to the organization.

I am a chemical engineer but all the work related to my area is given to a mechanical engineer. This person is a big show off and most of the time is talking about his own work. He has more friends than I have, but as far as the quality of work is concerned, I think I am superior.

Both statements come from employees who obviously did not take time to plan and create their identity in the organization. What do we mean by creating an identity? It means creating a picture, an image of yourself in the minds of other people in the organization. You must locate your place in the organization and develop your identity so that there is a fit between you and your place in the organization.

Your qualifications, your qualities, and your attributes must meet the job requirements at the workplace. You must make this known to the people who count. This means looking around and networking. It also means identifying and doing things you excel in. These should fall within the goals, the needs and the immediate exigencies of the organization. Let the power circuit know when you do so.

Become known as an effective troubleshooter. Let people call on you when there is a problem or even a crisis. Create an image that you can handle pressure situations without getting ruffled. Spread the message that there is a range of activities you excel at. Avoid becoming a ‗fit only for a


single slot‘ person. Place yourself as able to fit ‗any important slot‘, specially one which is

troublesome, challenging and gets noticed by the top brass.

An identity cannot be created without the process of projecting and highlighting the great job done by you. So, go ahead and softly but systematically project the great work you are doing to the corners that count so that your capacity and ability to do good work is integrated with your personal identity and image.

Create your organizational identity in line with the attributes of your personal brand equity. Do this effectively and you will be entrusted with plum, rewarding assignments in line with the identity you create.

One way to create a successful identity is to adopt the Six Sigma approach a concept made popular by Jack Welch in General Electric (GE), and now used extensively by organizations around the world. Six Sigma essentially means error-free working and is not related only to manufacturing.

When you adopt the Six Sigma approach at your workplace, you must say to yourself, ‗I am going to do error-free work. My work will always be equated with excellent quality‘.

Excellence in quality will cover every detail, every activity. For instance, your correspondence should be error-free, with all the commas and full stops in place, devoid of spelling mistakes, long sentences or grammatical errors. Sentence construction must be perfect.

Do this whether you are on the shop floor, in the control room, in the computer department, in finance, sales, product development or anywhere else.

The Six Sigma approach should also apply to your conduct such as reaching for appointments on time, adhering to deadlines, delivery schedules, etc.

Once you acquire the reputation of being a quality-output person, you will get fewer reminders with lesser follow-up. Your seniors will feel confident that they can delegate to you without the need to frequently check back. In fact, you need to do the checking to keep mistakes out.

I am reminded of how I used to slog during the early years of my career. Working late into the night was an every day thing. When my wife was ill with typhoid, I left her in the care of my parents and went to my office. Similarly, when I was suffering with high fever, I hired a driver to drive me to office. All this was noticed by my seniors and I quickly got the reputation of being committed and dedicated. Till date, no one doubts my loyalty and efficiency.

Generation Y is not likely to agree to what I did. They will call it a slavish mentality. This is

because ―self‖ plays a vital part in the life structure

Drop the attitude of completing work in a hurry. Work done in a hurry suffers in quality. Correcting it is time-consuming. The overall time taken will practically be the same as it would have been had you done your homework and applied your mind before the work left your table.

Develop a checklist to prevent mistakes creeping into your work. Create an identity of being a Six Sigma person. Do this and people will go to war to include you in their team.

The very fact that you have called me for an interview and feedback from among so many new recruits is an indication that I have been able to make an impact in the Organization.

Authentic Statement

In the first few years I kept such a low profile that I was pretty much part of the furniture. After understanding transition, and discussing my case with the trainer, I now have created some sort of


identity in my company. I know it is time consuming, but in due course people will pick me out because I will have made a definite mark with a profile.

Authentic Statement

Normally generation Y is more outgoing and very happy to interact and create impressions. It must be seen that the impressions have a very positive impact

I had to give a presentation to a Board of Directors. My power point somehow was not turning out as expected. One of my new entrants stepped up and offered me help. The presentation she created was brilliant and so was the effect on the Board of Directors. The word spread, her identity was created and rewards came in pretty fast.

Create an identity, create a reputation, create an image and take rewards home.


You do a tremendous amount of good work and are very productive. Sadly, this information remains with you and does not reach the quarters that count. The

management is blissfully unaware of your great contributions. Who is to blame? Don‘t

expect the management to expend time and effort to find out all that you have been

doing. This is your responsibility, therefore, it becomes very important to ...

Project Yourself

Sometimes directly sometimes indirectly let the people know what a wonderful job you are doing.

A s a new entrant how will people know your work, your

achievements unless you talk about them? There is no one out there to monitor your work and broadcast your achievements. You cannot hope to leave this all important task to some benevolent big brother. Its your responsibility.

So go around talking. Don’t boast. Talk. Take pride in your work. Show that you enjoy what you

do and that you feel good at being part of a team. After this you must project the work you are doing. You must take pride in your achievements, however small. Only then will others find the time and opportunity to do the same.

Use suitable adjectives to describe your ‘personal level of satisfaction at the good work done’. These adjectives could be ‘superlative’, ‘excellent’, ‘very satisfying’, ‘so enriching’ etc. Do this as if

you were working out a spot promo. Give it your best. Expand contents slightly, but be careful.

Don’t over-project.

When I got an opportunity to teach in a prestigious management institute, I showed the appointment letter to my MD and he wrote a few words of encouragement on it. I showed it to my seniors who, I knew will rise very high in their careers. The seeds I sowed so casually that day bore fruit four years later when that senior chose me for a good post in Australia

Authentic Statement.


Here are a few suggestions.

Make a list of all your activities and, against each, note write how you have contributed to the assignment, to the job and to the organization through these.

List what you have done which is good and praiseworthy new ideas, new suggestions leading to procedures and new systems, product improvements, savings in production, new marketing strategies, etc.

Bring these to the notice of your immediate supervisor.

After informing your immediate supervisor, seek/create opportunities to bring this to the knowledge of the seniors or the big boss. Such opportunities are best found during conferences, lunches and dinners and at social functions.

If the organization has a system of picking up and dropping seniors from and to airports, railway stations or hotels, volunteer to do this errand. It is a golden opportunity to gain

their undisturbed attention. Do this with pride and don’t forget to tell your bosses how

proud you are to be a part of the team and the organization.

Once a fresh charted accountant joined our organization. He was a cheerful and helpful soul. Any proposal that went to him was promptly dealt with and he went out of his way to help others. When it came to taking credit for his work , he was very shy and withdrawing. Soon people started to take him for granted, he may have been part of the furniture. He was so neglected that he was not even invited for important occasions.

But soon he learnt his lessons. Being good at figures, he raised a hell for others. He would raise so many objections that the affected parties started to prostrate before him. Thereafter, no one












extremes, only remember to make your work known to those that matter.

A word of caution: take care not to overshadow the immediate seniors. They may be non- projectors themselves and therefore, may not take too kindly to your ‘Operation Project.’

Do it carefully.

Involve them also. Say ‘We have done it’ rather than ‘I’ have done it. Bosses

are wise enough to know who has actually done it.














on yourself.

Don’t show off. Just show the good work done.

When I joined the organization, 110 credit proposals were cleared per month. Now, I clear around 700. When my request for additional manpower was turned down, I realized that my bosses did not know just how much work I was doing. I began systematically highlighting both the quantity and quality of work, now they have given me two additional hands.


Authentic Statement

My subordinates expect me to know all about their work. All my time is taken up with targets, conferences, meeting and touring. Therefore, I have asked my subordinates to give me a five to seven minutes presentation every fortnight. In the production department this is not required. After attending some workshops, the people are constantly talking about their achievements to the boss.

Authentic Statement

Projecting the Good Work………….Creating an Impact.

Stop working if you do not let others know what you are doing.


n our body of HR professionals we were hurtling towards a national conference. We needed high performing people to come on board. There was this one friend of mine who was extremely committed, capable and competent but who did not make herself visible. I had a

―corridor meeting‖ with her and I shook her up. She came on board and became a crucial

contributor to the success of the national conference. This brought home to me the importance of

visibility.‖ Authentic statement.

Please remember that unless your achievements and accomplishments are visible and acknowledged the effort is a complete waste.

Listen to this :

― I was consulting in a company on performance enhancement. Supervisor A spoke to me with

fatigue saying he had worked on all weekends throughout the month because the pressure of work

with defined deadlines was high. I happened to see the manager of supervisor A. The manager spoke to me with a request ― can you please speak to supervisor A. He is very slack in his work. Hardly has any focus and takes his duties casually. Please speak to him‖. I was shocked to hear these diagonally opposite stories. I had a face to face between the supervisor and the manager. It

was revealed that the manager was not aware of the supervisor‘s working on four consecutive

weekends. The defence of supervisor A was that he thought that the manager was aware of his

working additional extended hours.

I realized the importance of projecting my contribution to the corporate goals and highlighting my achievements and accomplishments.‖ Authentic statement.


The importance of displaying your work can never be underestimated. We have to all times understand that the boss does not have much time for us. He has his own pressures, his own time bound targets and he also has to manage his own boss therefore we have to create our space in his time structure so that he is aware of our presence and also he acknowledges our contribution.

There is a catch here

―you must show the work you are doing but do not show off‖

It is not being recommended that you have an ―in your face‖ attitude and approach. Make it soft. Make it subtle and make it effective.

Given the ethos of Indian Culture I found top performing managers suffering due to the absence of projecting the good work done. They quote the Bhagvad Gita which says that do your duty and do not look for fruits and rewards. My take on this is it is your abundant duty to your self and to your family to ensure that your hard work does not go unrewarded therefore to project your work and expect rewards is also a rich part of your duty.

As a new entrant how will people know your work, your achievements unless you talk about them? There is no one out there to monitor your work and broadcast your achievements. You cannot hope to leave this all important task to some benevolent big brother. Its your responsibility.

So go around talking. Don‘t boast. Talk. Take pride in your work. Show that you enjoy what

you do and that you feel good at being part of a team. After this you must project the work you are

doing. You must take pride in your achievements, however small. Only then will others find the time and opportunity to do the same.

Use suitable adjectives to describe your ‗personal level of satisfaction at the good work done‘. These adjectives could be ‗superlative‘, ‗excellent‘, ‗very satisfying‘, ‗so enriching‘ etc. Do this as if you were working out a spot promo. Give it your best. Expand contents slightly, but be careful. Don‘t over-project.

When I got an opportunity to teach in a prestigious management institute, I showed the appointment letter to my MD and he wrote a few words of encouragement on it. I showed it to my seniors who, I knew will rise very high in their careers. The seeds I sowed so casually that day bore fruit four years later when that senior chose me for a good post in Australia.

Here are a few suggestions.

Make a list of all your activities and, against each, note write how you have contributed to the assignment, to the job and to the organization through these.

List what you have done which is good and praiseworthy new ideas, new suggestions leading to procedures and new systems, product improvements, savings in production, new marketing strategies, etc.

Bring these to the notice of your immediate supervisor.

After informing your immediate supervisor, seek/create opportunities to bring this to the knowledge of the seniors or the big boss. Such opportunities are best found during conferences, lunches and dinners and at social functions. If the organization has a system of picking up and dropping seniors from and to airports,

railway stations or hotels, volunteer to do this errand. It is a golden opportunity to gain their

undisturbed attention. Do this with pride and don‘t forget to tell your bosses how proud you

are to be a part of the team and the organization.


Once a fresh charted accountant joined our organization. He was a cheerful and helpful soul. Any proposal that went to him was promptly dealt with and he went out of his way to help others. When it came to taking credit for his work , he was very shy and withdrawing. Soon people started to take him for granted, he may have been part of the furniture. He was so neglected that he was not even invited for important occasions.

But soon he learnt his lessons. Being good at figures, he raised a hell for others. He would raise so many objections that the affected parties started to prostrate before him. Thereafter, no one took him for granted. But you need not go to such extremes, only remember to make your work known to those that matter.

A word of caution: take care not to overshadow the immediate seniors. They may be non-

projectors themselves and therefore, may not take too kindly to your ‗Operation Project.‘

Do it carefully. Involve them also. Say ‗We have done it‘ rather than ‗I‘ have done it. Bosses

are wise enough to know who has actually done it. Switch on the spotlight. But focus it on others as much as on yourself.

Don‟t show off. Just show the good work done.

When I joined the organization, 110 credit proposals were cleared per month. Now, I clear around 700. When my request for additional manpower was turned down, I realized that my bosses did not know just how much work I was doing. I began systematically highlighting both the quantity and quality of work, now they have given me two additional hands.

Authentic Statement

My subordinates expect me to know all about their work. All my time is taken up with targets, conferences, meeting and touring. Therefore, I have asked my subordinates to give me a five to seven minutes presentation every fortnight. In the production department this is not required. After attending some workshops, the people are constantly talking about their achievements to the boss.

Authentic Statement