Generative Jobs for sustenance and wellbeing- Dismantling colonialism in the ‘Job Industry’

Few years back, I was doing a focussed group discussion on value alignment and a small part of this discussion was to understand what people’s jobs felt like. This was a metaphorical and imaging exercise to tap beyond language, unconscious and unsaid. Few patterns of thoughts that emerged caught my attention: there was always a wall, a chain, block, and many other ways in which people expressed their disempowerment through images. Some felt like they were driving a bus full of people and didn’t know where it was headed, some felt like everything looked ok on the surface but there one leg felt chained under the table. One person shared that every morning feels like they wake up and stare at a wall. This was not surprising, I guess we have all heard some of these expressions around coffee dispensers. Of course this was not a feeling all the time- there were also feelings of meaningful contribution, creativity etc., but there seemed to be something about the design of the mindset through which the jobs were designed that was holding the key to expanding the unmet potential needs of these people. I started to dream and realised that the mindset of ‘Human Resources for Organisation’ needed a paradigm shift to ‘Organisation resources for Humans’.

This framework of thought needs reflection as we have been conditioned with narratives of serving an organisation that then in-turn serves a bigger vision; however, the bigger vision is usually achieved by oppressing, marginalising and walking over several people who come to serve the organisation and when that organisation has no collective consciousness and understanding of sustainable ecosystems, it creates power structures that are oppressive. It creates pecking order, inauthentic insidious spaces which allow pockets of power, privilege and lack of responsibility in leadership.

This got me thinking, What makes a job energising? How can we create job descriptions as a generative container, where a person can feel growth? where people didn’t feel trapped, used or manipulated. How can spaces of generative conversations create emergence and magic.

Here is something I learnt from my work as an OD consultant for over a decade regarding what is important for people and what energises them. As per my observation, there are 3 energy components of a Job, I call them Triple anchor, The first two are creating the container for observance, awareness and alignment and the third is for emergence.

  1. Being: Who and what is the person supposed to be in this job? What metaphors or images come to mind when you think of this job? What is empowering and energising about this job? How can that be expanded and brought to the centre of this role while designing the Job?
  2. Personal Stand: What are the values that are crucial to this job and its mission? What personal values would support this role? Allow the role holder to create their own ‘stand’ for the job. Support Integration of the Role holder’s life story that bring the role holder to this place
    • The stand would include a personal commitment, vision and a body posture for somatic integration that allows stepping into the being the Role.
    • The Job description will have well being practices and creative ideas for stepping into the role.
  3. Doing: The doing part is the part that emerges when we can hold the first two. This is the action that has to be emergent, dynamic, and come from a co-creational space. This should not be defined concretely, as that can become the biggest energy block. Also this must continue to evolve based on internal and external feedback.

The Triple anchor job design requires self work on the part of the organisation, where there is a deeper understanding of what is the collective purpose of the organisation and how is it informed by Self, Collective and Ecological consciousness. Some people ask me what about jobs that are only transactional in nature what do we do about them? I say they should cease to exist, if they don’t energise, keeping such jobs alive will suck energy of people. The next generation jobs shouldn’t be just informed by the bottom line, they should be informed by ‘What it means to Grow and create sustainable future?’

Are you a ‘Systems’ conscious coach?

Coaching is often seen as a healing profession, however it is important to look at the systems and context in which coaching happens. Coaches need a very clear understanding of social justice and have the competency to hold cross- cultural, cross-racial humility, have clear understanding of power, privilege, rank dynamic and every coach training school needs to integrate this understanding. Coach trainers and mentors need to be socially and politically aware individuals who understand the design of the systems that influence their clients. (Refer to White fragility and Caste)

I believe impactful and authentic coaching can happen only by unraveling and dismantling the way coaches are trained and mentored. In this article, I have used inputs from work at LTW, book pages 266-267 of Coaching for Transformation and inputs from my friend and social justice facilitator Natasha Aruliah.

Malcom X said “You can’t teach what you don’t know and you can’t lead where you won’t go.”

Coaching is an intimate conversation that does not occur in a vacuum. Each person brings with them, albeit sometimes unconsciously, their histories, experiences, identities, the context and systems in which they are living and meeting in. Attending to and understanding these systems, is a crucial part of the coaching relationship. Coaching attempts to unleash an individual’s full potential, however it is based on the premise that the coach is a blank slate, a neutral being and they can overcome all barriers if they care for their clients; that individuals in relationship transcend the systemic. Coaches benefit from words like ‘self-work’ without really understanding it in the realm of power and privilege. Very few coach training schools bring the awareness of social justice lens in the coach training.

This focus on the individual with little or no awareness and attention to the systemic not only can prevent clients from benefiting from coaching, it can actual cause harm. For some individuals, addressing the systems in which they live is fundamental to successful coaching that meets their needs and desires. Exploring the systems they are in allows them to explore their full selves, what is denied because of the system, the ways they have been assimilated in etc. Given this, it is essential that coach trainers have skills and competence to address the interaction between individuals and the systems that impact them. If a coach is unable to include a systemic awareness lens, they undermine the ability to build trust, conscious agreements and spaciousness in the relationship to bring the -isms that exist. Additionally, in order to support clients and address the systems, coaches must know their own identity and systemic realities. They must examine where they reside in the systems and the impact of systems on them as well as on the client. In doing this crucial and deeper work, coaching could create possibilities that can have impact on the systems in which the conversation is taking place as well as impact on the individual. However, because the coaching profession was developed from a monocultural, Western-North American lens, this work has not been done. As a result the coaching profession is currently not diverse, coach professionals do not reflect the racial, religious, ethnic and cultural diversity in the countries and societies they live in and clients do not reflect that diversity. Many would argue that coaching has therefore become an elitist activity for the few and is not representative of the current and potential diversity of coaches, or clients and world views within the local and global community. Some would even argue that it is part of the systems and helps to maintain the inequities.

Paul Kivel says, “Whenever one group of people accumulates more power than another group, the more powerful group creates an environment that places its members at the cultural centre and other groups at the margins. People in the more powerful group (the “in-group”) are accepted as the norm, so if you are in that group it can be very hard for you to see the benefits you receive.” People belonging to the ‘in group’ are unable to notice how they are the beneficiaries of a system that marginalises other voices and marginalised bodies. This is a global phenomena, applicable to coaches all around the world.

It is easy for people of dominant white culture or higher caste to move through their daily routines without acknowledging their entitlement, power and privilege and this supremacist culture plagues most of the world today.

Maya Angelou said, “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.”

Like I said before, the coaching profession historically comes from a White dominant culture and is filled with ideas from that culture. It has also stolen/ appropriated from ideas from other cultures without acknowledgement.

Coaching is designed to support the people of White culture, provides little or no help and even causes harm to minority communities. With this in mind, The Coaching and Philanthropy Project was created with partnership between BTW Informing Change, Compass Point Nonprofit Services, Grantmakers for Effective Organisations, and Leadership That Works. This work was made possible by the generous funding and support of W.K.Kellogg Foundation, The Harnisch Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Evelyn and Walter Hass Jr. Fund.

Leadership That Works had conversations with the Coaches of Color Consortium (C3), a group of non-profit professionals with deep roots in communities of color who were trained to become coaches through the CAP project. The C3 members shared that:

1.   Coaching models and frames are limited to the experiences and thoughts of mainstream society whose understandings and business model imperatives do not include the experiences of people from other backgrounds and heritages the world over.

2.   C3 found that many coach trainers are not grounded in life experiences of people of color, thus do not have a positive frame of reference about them and their communities.

3.   The coach trainers and coaches often come from deficit-based thinking and are not using culturally sensitive language.

C3 offered many recommendations to develop culturally, socially and politically aware professional coaches, I am sharing them below:

1.   Coach trainers must attend cultural competency, anti-bias, White privilege trainings and this should be part of the certification requirement.

2.   Unearth assumptions about how coaches’ backgrounds and experience influence how they see the world, and how those perspectives and paradigms further impact the kinds of questions they come up with (or what they become curious about).

3.   Introduce information about internalised, interpersonal and structural oppression and how they relate to our clients.

4.   Develop awareness of racism and its impacts today, and acknowledge it as a reality for the majority world.

5.   Develop case studies from non-profit sector.

6.   Sponsor think tanks, affinity groups and support structures for trainees who are in the non-profit sector.

7.   Commit to offering programs and resources for free or at reduced cost to increase impact and reach to marginalized communities.

(reference: Coaching For Transformation Pg 266-267)

To add to this list; I think it is imperative for all coach training to include a deeper understanding for training coaches and assessments for mentoring. Here are few considerations.

-Was the coach able to pick up the voice of internalized supremacy and inquire about it?

-Is the coach able to discern and narratives that come from the client’s Social Group Identity?

-Is the coach competent to pick internalised oppression, and inquire around that?

-Is the coach socially and politically aware of the system in which the client exists?

-Is the coach aware of the issues and problems that are ‘usual’ and ’unusual’ in various social group identities? E.g. If the client is from sexually targeted community and belongs to a heteropatriarchal, supremacist system then- What are the systemic and emotional barriers that may present themselves to my client?

– The coach has to be aware at all times that the client can do only so much internal work around a system that they are not able to influence. E.g. A POC female client cannot be made to work on her communication style and have goals around it in a White supremacist, patriarchal culture by her coach to get into a higher position without an inquiry around the system and her feelings around it- how the system plays her and uses her every day?

– The Ethics committee should make clear rules around what is ethical coaching when it comes to giving false promises to people around ‘What coaching really can or cannot do?”.

o  Coaching can empower the client to become curious about the system the client inhabits and interacts with.

o  Coaches should make it clear in an agreement with the client as to what can be shifted in coaching and what cannot be shifted in coaching, with awareness of the system the client co-habits.

o  Coaches need to have clear agreements with for profit and non-profit clients around cultural change initiatives that do not consider the marginalized voices of the most employees in the organisation.

o  Coaches who don’t understand the cultural, racial, political and social identity of the client, must find mentors and training programs to build these competencies.

o  Mentors and mentoring practices need to align with the guidelines that ICF develops for coach training with a social justice lens.

I just want to conclude this by saying that coaching should not be used without the understanding of systemic influences. In absence of this competence, coaching becomes an insidious tool of oppression for clients, especially those in marginalised communities.

Coaching with Awareness

This article is for coaches as well as those who aspire to coach in future.

Coaching is a process of internal self discoveries that leads to natural transformation in people. In the process the person who is being coached is able to connect with a internal resourcefulness that nurtures and allows the person to see perspectives, which might have been unavailable previously. The person is then able to choose an action that is appropriate and self driven.

For being a transformational coach it is important to move away from problem solving and fixing to exploring and engaging self, Both the ‘Self’ of the Coach and the person being coached.

“When a coach is able to create a container where self can engage, transformation occurs.”

Many times in various organisational coaching, coaches are in a performance role, in such cases, engagement with self can be difficult. The Organisation may want the Coach to remove a problem with an individual or a group of individuals in a very pathological way. Transformational coaches need to develop skill to overcome the default of pathological prescription and engage with the group or individual’s deeper, transformational agenda effectively. Only when that happens will the real gold be hit and real transformation occur.

Coaches need to be aware that they are able to differentiate between their ‘Self’ that initiates transformation and the ‘Part’ that seeks acceptance and performance rating from the client. Sometimes it is possible that the ‘Part’ plays out, in such a case the person being coached also remains in the ‘Part’ of performance, without connecting with internal resourcefulness. The coaching assignment is delivered but post that the transformational agenda of the organisation remains unfulfilled. Organisations will always need to remember that for transformation to occur the ‘Self’ or the Core essence of the individual has to be engaged, for that Coach needs to be in his/her own ‘Self’ and engage from that space.

Aware Coaching is what gets long term transformation and self driven actions, in any coaching intervention.

I am open to taking any questions or comments for further discussion on this topic.

Thanks and regards,


Creating your Response- Creating your Life

Viktor Frankl so beautifully said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom”~Viktor E. Frankl

I have been a very passionate and reactive person, Over the years of working on myself, I feel life has improved considerably for me. Yet there are times when I feel disturbed and also am clamored by the question, “Why does this happen to me ?”. There is a lot of inner work that is still to be done. Recently when I watched the movie, Inside out, many things became alive in me, and I just loved the portrayal of emotions in the movie. In this blog I am sharing somethings that I have learnt over time.

Whenever there is a stimulus or a trigger in our life, we tend to react. In this reaction there is no thought, in fact the reaction happens first and then the thoughts follow. It could be delay in a project, or a statement made by somebody or something that we read about. This is a common phenomena and keeps happening with us until we start questioning the pattern. These patterns create our life story and the reactions become a part of our personality, we also start believing that we are a certain ‘type’. We hold judgements about self based on our reactions and sometimes end up holding, rage, guilt and shame all our lives, unable to forgive ourselves.

To recognize our patterns and how they are governing our life is a must to be able to break them. For this we must be aware of our triggers and how they impact us. This observance is an important skill to develop in order to live a desired life, else our life goes on as an reaction to situations that we keep encountering. Our life is over before we even realize that, we did have a choice of thoughtful response.

Developing this response skill is a matter of practicing observance, and also being aware that our reactions are coming from the way our Brain is wired or programmed. Our brain carry’s our story from the mother’s womb and as our brain develops the different stages of its growth determine our traits depending on the situations that we encounter in our developmental stages. It is difficult to compartmentalize the brain as everything is connected to everything else and it is a complex circuitry that Neuro scientists are still researching. But for ease of understanding there is a simple classification that can be shared. The reptilian brain is the one that develops first, it takes care of our heart rate, breathing, balance, body temperature and other involuntary functions of the body. The mid brain or the limbic brain stores pleasant and unpleasant life experiences and memory of reactions for protection/ self preservation. This part of brain has an almond shaped gland called Amygdala, which acts as a watchman and watches out for potential threats or triggers, which could be real threats or could be illusions created by old memories. However as soon as the amygdala encounters any potential threat it engages a reaction based on previously stored mechanisms of protection and creates a similar experience of familiarity with situation. This is almost like, “You have been through this before, you know this is the best way to go about it, there is no other way and no choice, act now”. Thus causing us to get stuck in a pattern of reactive behaviors. The third and the most evolved part of the brain is the Neocortex, which is the thinking brain, it has helped us develop language, reasoning, consciousness and holds infinite possibilities of learning.


When we wish to live from choice and liberation, it is important for us to engage our Neocortex. The moment Neocortex is engaged, we have a choice, before engaging Neocortex, an action could be a  completely thoughtless reaction, which causes much blame, shame and guilt. In order to engage our Neocortex, we must be aware of our triggers and what is it that causes emotional imbalance in us? Being in observance allows us to see our selves and our interactions in a very detached manner, thus creating a non judgmental space, where everything/ everyone is a subject. Practicing mindfulness and meditative practices enhances our ability to be in observance of self and surrounding without reacting. A mindful response can then be chosen. However this requires practice of holding back and engaging the Neocortex. Once you feel a trigger, become aware of what is happening to you and ask yourself,”What is the meaning that I am giving to this situation?” “Is the meaning that I am giving to it empowering me to make a choice or is a mere pattern that I might be following?” When we ask questions from higher consciousness, we engage the Neocortex and the Amygdala is bypassed, thus bypassing any old reaction stored in our Limbic brain. Practicing observance and questioning can help us detach from the reactions that hold us slaves in our own lives.


Response consciousness is not a summit to be reached but a daily practice, without which, the illusion of life and what it should be, will continue. Staying with your breath and observing in a detached manner, allows us to see beyond our old beliefs. Action which emerges from a thoughtful inner deliberation from your higher brain creates the full circle of  awareness and alignment that helps in deeper connect.

Can a Leader be Gullible?

Gullible Leadership
In the past I used to sometimes think I am a very strange person…Sometimes I am calculative, Sometimes I am frivolous, Sometimes I am like a monk, Sometimes like a scared child, Sometimes like a warrior, sadist, funny, angry…the list goes on and on…  these are all parts of myself, like healthy sub personalities. However it is only recently I realized that I am also Gullible…somebody said, Rashmi you are extremely Gullible…I have heard of that word and know that it is a word associated with being foolishly trusting and too optimistic about people. This is one feedback that I have received multiple times. I started wondering what does ‘Being Gullible’ mean in the Leadership context.

My search started off by checking the synonyms of Gullible…Innocent, Trusting, Accepting…it is also Naïve or Foolish. I did some introspection and realized yes I am all this. But somehow I wasn’t feeling bad, I sensed pride in that acceptance. Being Gullible allows me to try several things, take several risks. I am successful in many of them and I fail in many of them. Some people say, “It is suicidal…” I say “you can’t expect rebirthing without dying, and this is not dying it is just trying, everyone dies just once, so try before you die.”

The ideas in which I fail I have still learnt something new, about relationships, perspectives, and more about myself. I become aware of what I can deal with and what I can’t. Every failure creates a new breakdown a new energy just like every success does. I am a slow learner, I like it slow. I internalize my learning and integrate it into my new way of being. The learning’s that I don’t internalize I end up quickly making another mistake and then internalize them as well, slowly and steadily. Some big lessons have taken me more than a decade to internalize and integrate into my evolutionary journey.

This integration I realize has kept me at peace with myself on my journey and I have found it so valuable that I am ready again for being gullible. My real success at work as well as in my personal life has come from my being Naïve and open to Bizarre ideas. I also know that if I am successful it is called as an original and extremely innovative step and if it is a failure it is called a foolish step taken by a naïve woman. What matters to me at the end of the day is my resonance with self. At this age after integrating my ways of being, which I have encountered till date, ‘Being Gullible’ resonates deeply with me, It is the core of my being. That is who I am; I am not a head person. This doesn’t mean I am not intelligent; of course I am intelligent…I am brilliant…but most importantly I am Gullible… Being Gullible to me is not a part of me for me it is my ‘Self’. This helps me to be extremely optimistic about people, about situations and about me. Being Gullible means I am comfortable with my own vulnerability, this gives me courage to try different things without fear of failure. This also helps me establish deeper and more trust worthy relationships. I think for a leader being gullible is an important asset.

Are you Gullible?

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Creating a Container for Transformation

This blog has emerged through an intense discussion, over coffee, with my dear friend Sushma Sharma, who has an expertise in Complex Adaptive Systems. I am sharing my understanding of creating a container in the following essay. This essay, would be of interest to anyone, who would like to create high performance teams, either in work place or life in general.
A container, is a space created through, intention. Clarity of intention, will help hold the container, so that it doesn’t fall and shatter. As soon as two people interact, a container is created, this container may either hold business interest or relationship interest. Whatever may be the interest of creating a container, it will always give you a choice to grow. Even if the experience in the container is not pleasant, it is our choice to grow and move up the spiral. From this experience we learn to create better containers, where relationships and people can thrive and grow.

An ideal container would be the one in, which everyones opinions can be voiced, and even when there are disagreements. The voicing is not easy. In a container people may have several opinions and thoughts, but if the creator/ leader of the container, doesn’t give enough space, there won’t be enough voices. This will retard the growth process, and the container will become dysfunctional. This is true for organizations, families, groups, friends etc. Wherever there is not enough space, for voicing opinions, people will say exactly, what you want to hear, until they move to another container. A container holds patterns, or fractals, observing the pattern and being able to appreciate the differences in the pattern, brings out the uniqueness of the container. It also makes the container more, meaningful.

In most of the teams, the need for approval, causes us to seek out people, who approve of our thought processes and ways, we then become a part of a formal or informal group, with like minded people. These ‘like minded’ people end up then creating a container, where conformity is rewarded, and conflicts are not welcome. This is generally in the air and unspoken. Most of these spaces will talk about, how, they are open to negative feedback, but may not have a clue, about how to handle them.

Creating a container, where people can openly speak about, there feelings and inhibitions, without fear of losing a relationship, has to be a part of the intention, with, which, the container is created. In such a container, both the leader and the team grow. Here team members, can freely talk about, what, “doesn’t resonate”, in the moment and create a constructive conflict, which, will then lead to growth. Such a conflict should be welcomed and heightened for maximum, transformation. This is possible only, when we feel, secure and confident, in handling our internal dilemmas, during this confrontation.

Only opening up, and being vulnerable in the moment, sharing our internal world, in that moment, creates equal membership, in spite of differences, in the container. Where both the leader and the team member feel and experience equality. Such a container is truly transformational for all, and this container itself keeps evolving.

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The New Age Leadership: What We Must Do Now To Nurture It

Leadership Genx

I hear several people talking about the new generation wanting more, expecting more. In corporates this shows up when young and talented pool of employees, show more attrition rate, than the older more experienced ones.
So, what is this new generation about? why are they so unstable? If you talk to them they seem to be looking for something, some say it is balance, some say wholesomeness, connect, etc…

When they don’t get what they are looking for, either you see a decline in their performance or they just go and find another job. Some times they may also start on their own, and may find success or not.

What seems missing is good role model for these young leaders. These young kids are smart and see through most of the farce. So if there are only words and no action, they bluntly term it “Corporate bullshit”. Also you will find them challenging every leader and his/ her leadership behaviors. They question and slowly detach, when they realize they are up against a wall.
These new age leaders are not about frill and talk, they are about depth and connection. If they don’t find it in your organisation, you will not be able to retain them. They are about deep sensitive friendships and not leg pulling politics. They are about spontaneous creativity and freshness, not old production processes and conformity. These leaders are not about quantity they are about quality and congruence. They look for transparency and trust. Believe me you, even if the goals are not clear, these leaders through their adaptive powers can make any vision, any dream come true. Only they would test you, they would test your wisdom, your Leadership, to trust you and give you their 100%. If you do not pass their barometer they know how to defy you, how to negotiate and how to put your work into a loop.

These New age leaders are emotional and have a natural spiritual connect, to have them in your organisation means to inject huge amount of energy. This energy can grow your organisation multifold, in the area of innovation, technology, as well as happiness index. But to have these Leaders on board would entail a self growth process for the organisation itself.

Interventions on creating clarity around  growth paths, goals, job roles, stakeholders for each goal will have to be implemented. Parallel to this work around building, trust, transparency, emotional connect will have to be done across the organisation. Understanding along with working around employee values and connecting them to organizational values, institutionalizing them is crucial. Creating awareness around silence and pause will become the key in the coming days in every organisation. And when that happens a new organizational structure will emerge, which will be empowering to the New age leadership and will integrate with it. This organizational structure will be a huge container, which will have intrinsic wisdom and spontaneous growth characteristics. This structure will be flexible and natural, it will allow emergence of several new containers within, and expand with their growth. Also this organizational structure would pollinate with other structures to create hybrid structures.

The Language would be of Nature, the language will have Union, Pregnancy, Birthing, Spontaneity, Cycles and Death. In every realm of the organizational structure, seasons would play an important part and with deeper awareness. Deeper connect with self and the planet. This would be the container for the New age leaders to perform and innovate from their depths and feel the sense of belonging. Not everything will look like bed of roses, pain will be a part of every piece but, it will have more meaning. That is what New age leadership will be all about…an ‘Empowering Meaning’.

If any organisation wants to be relevant after ten years from now…the work has to begin…the ground has to be ploughed for the seeds of New age leadership…

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The Unseen Mistake of the Leadership

There is a common mistake, which has been repeated time and again and still can’t be worked out. It is the “Control” that all leaders seek in organisation. Whether it is a project or a routine report, whether it is top line or the bottom line, the only anxiety in business is how can I “control” it all? With the control anxiety at the subconscious level, the source of every organizational behavior is “Fear”. Is “Fear” all bad? No, not really, it helps us to do some risk analysis, if we can look at ourselves and the business objectively. But we hardly have time for any objective risk analysis, which can be used in Strategic planning. Instead we get into a frenzy of activities, which will help us put off the perceived fire. Everyone becomes a fire fighter and Leaders get into a competition about who is the “Hero”. The behaviors of the “Hero” are listed as follows:

1. They generally would walk very fast towards a meeting hall, looking as if on a mission.
2. They would exude a passion and talk highly of the organisation and top leadership.
3. Generally will talk very fast and grow up the career ladder even faster.
4. They would stay back late and sacrifice family for work. Will expect his/ her team to do the same.
5. They would talk about Leadership and delegation to their Juniors and act as if they are doing a great contribution to their subordinates life, just by being empathetic.

These leaders know exactly how the perceptions of people work and they cash on them amply. These leaders may show results by pushing all the right buttons at the right time, however do not uproot the core organizational issues. Infact there may not be enough time for that, as everyone is busy with showing numbers.

The “Real talk” goes missing and those who validate the Leadership, stay and others leave, or get suppressed and unproductive. The employees with perspective very different from the leadership, are not often encouraged as, superiors themselves seek validation of their ideas. This insecurity is unreal and often is a primal survival instinct. As humans we see ourselves a certain way, we are always checking if others also see us in the same light, and when they don’t we are upset, and when they do, we can relate to them. Today’s leadership will have to grow beyond these psychological entrapments and have conversations which are courageous.  Conversations and perspectives, which will help us look beyond the “Fear”, would help organizations grow, not only financially but in spirit. Pushing issues under the carpet, is not a great idea, as anything pushed under carpet for a long time will create a fishy smell. Anybody entering the organisation can actually smell that. The organisation may grow well financially but the inside “rot” will keep the honest and sensitive leaders out of bounds.

Some organizations are now understanding the importance of straight talk and implementing certain systems to bring collective perspective, however this is at a nascent stage. The “Fear” still continues to drive most organizations, and in Maslow’s law of hierarchy most well known organizations are still at the lowest level and in complete denial of it.

Enhancing Employee Performance- A Fad or Good Intention?

employee performance
I find it funny when Human Resources talk about different methods of enhancing employee performance, but seldom focus on the way the employees are being treated in the organisation. It is the day to day interactions that increase employee performance and not some new initiative, which is an industry fad. Each employee interaction creates a energy, which then goes around and becomes organization’s energy. As an outsider steps into the organization, he can feel the charge that the organisation carries. The charge might be triggered by the noise of the air conditioner, laughter in a group, the receptionists smile or frown, color of the upholstery, anything.

Every organisation has a smell and taste, and that triggers our reactions to it. Mind you these might not be mere judgements but a deeper intuition of the energy the organisation possesses. If you as an Organizational development consultant just stay with the intuition silently, without forcing it out, you will start seeing data. This data need not be analyzed but keep collecting, like a child collects shells from the sea shore, both with curiosity and care. Each organisation will interact with you instantly, right when you step into its arena. This interaction is a overall outcome of interactions happening within the departments in the organisation and individual employee interactions. Of course each organisation will have both positive and negative interactions but if the size of interactions that are negative is more, you would be able to smell that. Such organizations are toxic dumps and suck the employees of their energy in the name of creating better profits. These organizations thrive on loose protocols and unclear systems, might becomes right and employees are treated as mere pawns.

If you believe you might be in such a organisation, remember to take really good care of yourself and not get demotivated. If you feel drained and completely sucked of your energy, take a sabbatical and go on a vision quest. In such organizations blame games are common and interactions are implicit. Trust and transparency is not present and no one has the courage to point out the real issue. Many top leaders in such an organisation are in a state of complete denial and stay focused on superficial, unnecessary routine tasks. In such a state no body pulls the carpet to see what’s causing the obnoxious smell, everyone wears uncomfortable nose clips and those who don’t are choked out of the space.

Any initiative to enhance employee performance in such a space will fall flat on its face and someone will have to take its blame. If you are in a Leadership role then you must smell your organisation, if you smell a dead rat, call for a open transparent discussion, and have an intention of cleaning up. Otherwise forget about employee performance. If you are an OD consultant in such an organisation, garner courage to talk about what you smell, if you don’t then any superficial performance initiative you do in this space will not succeed, and remember you or your organisation will be blamed. So be clear yourself and your intention before you step into any space. Trust and transparency are a corner stone to any employee’s performance, you falter there and you are in for a long drawn time consuming farce.