Saturday, 15 March 2014

What should Come From Within

How to win friends & influence people?, a world famous book by Dale Carnegie gives tips on the subject which include addressing people frequently by their first name which according to the author is the sweetest sound  to the ears of the listener.Another tip is to smile often. The general advice in such self help books is to 'fake it till you make it'. Often times these methods seem to work.

But for me personally, a marketing person who telephones me and repeats my name every second  as a business ploy, tends to put me off rather than have the effect of my  warming  up to him. In another post ,in this very blog we had discussed the importance of "civility" and how incivil  behaviour in the form of  rudeness, complacency etc can prove to be costly to the organization reflected in loss of customers,loss of productivity or attrition among employees

Be that as it may, we may end up doing more harm than good  if we were to resort to the traditional command & control style for ensuring every one behave in a "Civil" manner by declaring desirable behaviour and punishing the deviants. As for example let us take a situation where management believes that supervisors and managers are not exhibiting sufficient care towards team members. HR decides to keep tab  in respect of each supervisor as to whether desirable behaviour is being  practiced with the help of  the following record:-

1) How many times does  the manager/ supervisor smile in a day?

(a) 10 or more   (b)  7 to 9   (c)  3 to 6  (d) 1 to 2  (e)  0 

2)   How many of his team members' homes, does he visit in the weekend in a month?

(a)    4       (b) 3    (c)   1-2   (d)   0

3)   How often does he have lunch with team members

   (a)  everyday   (b)  Most days   (c)   once in a while (d) never

Such an exercise would only generate plastic smiles that do not reach the eyes of people and an activity such as home visit would be carried out by just going through the motions with the spirit missing.  Similarly lunch everyday with the boss could mean the team losing its space and denied the little time when he/she  would have loved to mad mouth the boss once in a while.

To my mind life including life in the corporate world become smoother if all of us worked at the basics ourselves without external arm twisting, and allow our  natural positive feelings to spring forth.This would mean genuinely  desiring to meet the real needs of a customer & not focus merely on making a sale. For example if a customer ,given the size of his living room & number of members at home, wishes to buy a medium sized TV, the sales person facilitates the process and guides him to purchase the best product in the segment instead of brainwashing him into buying a large expensive TV with a lot of additional features that he doesn't need.In such a scenario the grateful,  genuine warmth that the customer feels remains with him long after the sale and he would only be happy to come back when he is ready for a higher end version or other products sold by the firm.

Similarly the more natural and genuine the feelings employees have for their colleagues and team members , better the chance of of good working relationships in the long run.Yes, some things have to come from within.It is futile to impose it from the outside. What we can actually do is to educate and create a climate for practicing the desirable behaviour we are seeking, For this as a management, we need to think always of the welfare of our customers, employees and other stake holders and not look at it short term as advantageous to business.


  1. very pertinent and insightful article Rajeev...genuineness goes a long way in employee engagement

  2. Thank you for your feedback Suzanna.It is when you hear from your readers ,you have the satisfaction of being read & responded to..

  3. when i read this blog i could recall an incident where a vice prez finance in one of the cos where i worked would find out best practices and impose it upon the managers who were then supposed to implement the best practices. not all best practices work in all situations. This was one company which was financially cash strapped, had a culture of fear and sycophancy and you guessed it lack of trust. its mere lip service to a great sentiment.

  4. Thank you Job for sharing your experience. Even if we want to impliment a good thing, it is necessary to take the effort & time to sell it to our people so that they believe it to be worthwhile to make it happen.Mere arm twisting would only result in the whole exercise being still born as borne out by your experience.

  5. I just love this article that has great life lessons besides providing the key to successful forstering of amicable relationships within the organization. I do believe that whether in interpersonal relationships or functional relationships within an organization and outisde, unless there is a genuine desire from within to be a part of the mainstream and forge mutually beneficial relationships, any attempt at this would be futile and not remain for long...

    Thanks Rajeev, for sharing this excellent article that is so full of your pearls of management wisdom and instances drawn from your own experiences in the corporate sector as a leader. This is a piece that should be circulated in all organizations especially those that deal with public. Respects.