Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Search for Identity

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 0
Pune has been a city of contradictions for long. Being situated a mere three hours drive from Mumbai, it has remained a shadow of India’s financial capital. It has been known for decades as the Oxford of the East (at least Pune-ites have always believed so!), the hub of engineering and automobile industry in India, the cultural capital of Maharashtra, and so on. In the recent years, it has attempted to vie with Bangalore and Hyderabad to become an IT-city, but has remained on the lower rungs.
This curious phenomenon extends itself to occupy the mentality of several organizations of Pune. Just like the city that they are based in, they have remained on the threshold of becoming big. But there is a difference in being Big and trying to be Big.

Friday, April 9, 2010

What is 360 degree feedback?

Friday, April 9, 2010 1
I recently conducted this feedback exercise for an organization, starting with the head office staff and then expanding it to the entire field sales managers. During the briefing for the exercise, I asked them what they understood by the term '360 degrees feedback' and received varied answers. Some examples - 

1. Getting feedback about all the aspects of my work and my personality.
2. Giving feedback to everyone in my office.
3. Getting feedback from everyone in my office.
4. Getting feedback from all those who I interact with at work.

The system for 360 degrees feedback (also called multi rater feedback) has been in use for several years and has steadily increased in its popularity. Fundamentally, it involves receiving developmental feedback about yourself from three levels of people in the organization. Your subordinates, your peers and and your superior(s). Hence the term 360 degrees, denoting the fact that you would stand to receive feedback from 'all sides.'
It all sounds very good, but implementing it without sufficient care and preacution can have disastrous consequences. It is important to find the answers to these questions before embarking on the exercise.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

What do 'your folks' say abut you?

Saturday, April 3, 2010 0
How do you decide if a good psychometric instrument is actually good? Its creators will tell you how many validity and reliability tests have been done for the test. When it comes to taking these instruments, one oft-heard remark is "can it really tell me something about myself?" It is a valid question and deals with validity and reliability of the instrument. On the other hand, most self-respecting  and honest psychometricians will also tell you this - "nobody can claim to know you better than what you know about yourself."

Which means that if I lie through my test, I would already know this fact when looking at the results. If I can thus delude myself, what is the next best way of telling me that I am a liar? Ask others! But then, it won't be that easy, will it? If there could be a way of taking a psychometric instrument all by oneself, but generate data about 'how others would describe me' then that would be wonderful. Like having a cake and eating it too. 

Connect with people

I have had the opportunity of working closely with a company that manufactures and sells paints. Let's call it ABC. It was established in 2001 and began its operations in a small way by making and selling cement paint. Over the years, it has grown its product portfolio and now has operations in 11 states across the country. It is still small, compared to the existing giants of paint industry . But its growth over the years has been steady and impressive.
When I first met this company in 2009, it had a simple setup. Led by a managing director, it has a sales staff across 11 zonal offices and manufacturing plants in Rajasthan and Jharkhand. Not much has changed in the structure in the one year. But compared to its CAGR of around 20%, it posted an astounding growth of 62% in FY 2009-10. So what had changed in this one year? The way of connecting with people.

Friday, April 2, 2010

People Need People

Friday, April 2, 2010 0

FIRO-B is an instrument that has been widely used for over 50 years. It can be a great value-addition to self-development, building team effectiveness and leadership development.  I have often heard some trainers belittle it, saying that over the years it has lost its value. Further, many often claim that it is easy to fake the instrument. I can only say that both these are a gross generalizations. As for faking the instrument, I can safely say that anyone who makes this tall claim doesn't really know the instrument!
During early 1950s, William Schutz was asked by the US Navy if he could determine which kind of people would work better together in teams. Schutz's research findings led to his theory of interpersonal relations and development of the well-known FIRO-B instrument.

Why are we the way we are?

What is the MBTI® instrument ? – The MBTI® (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) has been in use for more than 40 years (first published in 1962) and is widely recognized as an effective psychometric instrument across the world. It is based on Carl Jung’s theory of types which proposes that each person has an inborn set of preferences. These become clearer over the years and have a distinct effect on the person’s behaviour. The instrument identifies four dichotomies and segregates people into sixteen types which arise from a combination of these dichotomies. These are as follows –
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