Career Management: Generic People Success Factors
Managing enterprise “holistically”. In a Psychometric Testing Canada research, some select CEO’s and top management have pointed out big picture management of the enterprise as an important people success factor. Understanding the corporation for its overall meaning and purpose traditionally has been left to the CEO. Times appear to have changed. Our learning, albeit, small number, have indicated the need to have effective people understand their organizations holistically. Understanding is but a first step to managing the enterprise on the whole.
It is now expected that effective managers should handle their strategic and tactical problem solving situations keeping the overall organizational perspective. The compulsions, realistically, are many given this situation. Deep functional and people appreciation, environment, competition, organizational capabilities, financial strengths, self management competencies, team building and strong sense of bottom line orientation that would enhance shareholder value are but a few of the new found compulsions for this “holistic manager”.
Overall understanding of the business and the environment of operations, content and context
Definition of managerial role and responsibility to include business and functional appreciation
Organizational processes that facilitate employee movement and learning opportunity across borders
Exposure to laws governing the business and its impact on business decision-making
Building big picture, helicopters view competency in managers and help them understand its impact on their individual roles
Integrating managing and leading on people process team capabilities and managerial maturity
“Environment relationship” managers.
From a CEO perspective, understanding, interpreting and coping with the environment is an essential feature of a people success factor. Environment could mean government, Unions, neighbors, ecology forums, state authorities, shipping companies, local community, legal machinery, shareholders, bankers, and political parties and in a organizational context, vendors, suppliers, third party relationships and ofcourse customers. Reliance Industries, Hindustan Lever Ltd, Infosys, Tech Mahindra, Global Info way, Pepsi, GE Corporation, Bharati Telecom, GE, Jet Airways are enterprises that have demonstrated their adeptness in environment relationships.
It is a point to understand that mere functional or strategic competencies are no longer good enough to be an effective manager. An equally important effectiveness parameter is developing and sustaining environment relationships that clear paths for organizational success. Creating specialist or a generalist manager to engage third party relations is one way.
There are other ways to make this happen;
Demystifying either reluctance or a dislike for environment management
Making success with complex environment issues an important recognition event within the company
Demonstrating empathy to the difficult task but concurrently making position statements that this role is important for the corporation
Integrating the role across the branches and factories that are located in different parts of the country
That environment relationship does not mean deal making, but as yet another managerial role
Communicating company standards and policies on approaches to a problem and providing a consistent and fair communication across the company management
Appointing country managers as being primarily responsible with a matrix of managers and departmental heads accountable for their roles. Centralized functioning of environment relationship managers is giving way to empowered operating managers trained to manage external agencies.
It is also possible to outsource some aspects of environment management
Culture of openness tending towards “informality”. Of all the success factors identified by the CEO’s and top management through this research, culture by itself, unfortunately has not emerged as an important aspect of managerial leadership.
That leadership influences culture and consequently would be an important people success factor has not figured through this research conclusively. A pattern of consistency could not be established. Nevertheless on the mention of openness as a factor in culture creation and management some learning is possible. The research states culture of openness tending towards informality implying freedom to do and get things done, a climate where data, information and generic knowledge is open and available. That people can speak their mind and work in a fearless, secure environment.
That performance effectiveness is a measure of achievement of goals and not what was the spoken word in an emotional moment, or in a vulnerable situation arising out of intemperate temper. Informality implies moving into the cyber era of pullovers and Jeans and a climate where first names, sharing the coffee pot, working out of same offices and taking a ride back home in the boss’s car all fall into this category. CEO asking for informality as a people success factor indicates an emerging tolerance from straightjacket formal environment to a state of intellectual equality and congruence in goal orientation and working style. If preferences are no longer articulated on being formal or informal in a work place, making people productive is now but one short of a constraint.
Some learnings are:
That the culture today sponsors or facilitates openness is a starting point to review
Openness is one of many culture specific issues in organizational functioning. Some equivalent indicators could be collaboration, team working, interpersonal working, conflict management style, mutuality, ownership, pride and belonging, recognition, confrontation, participation and consensus building activities, competition and respect for the dignity and worth of the individual
Obtaining an informal culture would imply some degree of clarity to help people make a transition from a current to a desired state. Of recent example would Arthur Anderson worldwide mandate to wear what is appropriate, not casual, for a clients meeting, not into suits or any supposed formal wear all the time. Or a Citibank’s Saturday casual dressing or the fashion industry colored checks and stripes.
Some degree of boxing people into informality may mean staying away from those who may prefer a degree of informality. It is the equivalent of some asking for informality in a formal environment. The opposite could equally be true. Letting people be is the best option
Informality as a cultural change does not happen with only physical and superficial changes. Managers should believe that an informal environment might mean enhanced productivity. Informality when it borders on casualness could imply a country club culture maintaining casualness and loss of business focus
1. Naisbitt, John. (1994). Global Paradox. New York: William Morrow, 1994Posted by ZuzukiSX4 Posted on 14 Mar
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