Sunday, 29 March 2015

Becoming purpose detectives

After working for five years as HOD  in Learning and Development, I was recently transferred to contract management department (CMD) on a job rotation.In the initial days, team members explained to me  in detail the nature of the  work they are doing- for example, preparation of daily/weekly reports. I had only one thing to tell them.whatever we are doing, we should examine the purpose of our performing the activity. In the case of report making, the question is what is the purpose of making it or  what next? What action are we going to take on the information? Making and filing reports have no meaning if we don't know the purpose or take follow up  action for meeting that purpose.In other words, we need to be purpose detectives in all that we do.

Often times, when moving  to a new assignment, we tend to be in a hurry and are  eager to implement our ideas before fully understanding the new role.This could lead to creation of apprehension, insecurity and even resentment in the minds of the new team members. Stretching the legs even before we have sat down, could result in our falling down.

Although I was also  keen to introduce my pet ideas such as mind programming, I waited for a few weeks of settling down time- a period devoted to winning the trust of the team, letting them know that my role is to make their job easier and build excitement in the work they do, rather than on constantly breathing down their back.This period came in handy to pump up our self esteem.

The contract management department(CMD) is responsible for the successful deployment of contract workmen.It involves ensuring that that the user departments like production are satisfied with the services of contract workmen on the one hand, while on the other hand it is important to ensure the statutory provisions are complied and other welfare matters are focused so that both the contract supervisors and workmen are happy and motivated to contribute.

I told my  team that if they were working in HR, their exposure would be limited to only one area say recruitment, employee relations or manpower planning.In CMD, a wider view of the entire HR function pertaining to the contract workmen is available and provide wonderful opportunities for holistic  learning.In the monthly meeting with the contractors'managers also the importance of our role to the overall success of the organization  was emphasized.Attention was  drawn to the fact that  success would be possible only with concerted efforts of everyone whether contractor, CMD employees and contract workmen, working  as a team in harmony for the common goal.

We decided as a team, to visit the shop floor regularly to understand the situation at the ground level and solve issues.Each team member chose a department he would visit and share with the whole team  experiences of the  issues and solutions provided,  in the two meetings we hold in a week.We also decided to develop the reading and sharing habit. A management, work related or self development  book would be read and shared by a team member through a presentation once in a week.This would also enhance our presentation skills.Accordingly two books, one on "Project Management" and another by the name "whoever tells the best story wins"  was shared by team members. I also shared the gist of the book "The Secret"

After the settling down period, we finally started the 'mind programming exercise after discussing among ourselves and finalizing the priorities of the department which were used as positive affirmations during the exercise( For the detailed process, please read the blog on Mind programming ).Some of our affirmations are as follows:-

"We are happy and proud to work in CMD."
"We have very good rapport with contract supervisors and user department representatives."
"Our integrated software system is successfully developed & implemented and is used effectively by everyone."
"We have full support of the management and our proposals are easily approved"
"We have very good relationships both at work and at home"

We would be doing this exercise daily for 21 days.We feel that we  are on the right path and are  happy with the beginning we have made.I am confident that if if we approach all our activities as pupose detectives and ensure that they are performed in a manner that meets the basic  purpose and priorities of our department, all our goals will be realized effortlessly and effectively...



  1. "...if we approach all our activities as pupose detectives and ensure that they are performed in a manner that meets the basic purpose and priorities of our department, all our goals will be realized effortlessly and effectively..."

    The above line is so meaningful and relevant to not just running a department but to any facet of life, be it managing our family or our time. If we adorn the role of purpose detectives, we can indeed find greater meaning and purpose in whatever we do and also perform our tasks better and effectively.

    Thanks Rajeev, for sharing this excellent and insightful article. A person like you who leads from the front, is always an asset to any organization. Kudos and respects.

  2. Thank you so much Padmaja! Your feedback is ever so motivating!

  3. Nice article. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Nice idea Rajeev - purpose detectives, indeed. But the onus is not just on the individuals or even departments, the organization too has to foster this culture. But it does put one to think. Thanks for that!

  5. Thank you Ajay.It is great if the organization imbibes it, but we need to start from somewhere.When we get success and share it, other departments would be motivated to practice and eventually it could become a part of the organizational culture.Thanks once again for your feedback!

  6. Respected sir:
    Feeling happy and motivated to see you implementing all the essence of secrets that you gained from your experiences and priceless books.The content rightly depicts that a pavement cannot be made without proper destination.My hearty wishes to the Contract Management Department for joining hands with a sagacious person like you.Expecting many more write ups from you.Thank you sir.

  7. Dear Akilan
    I am very happy to receive your feedback and to know that you are continuing to keep in touch with my blog.Wishing you all the best!

  8. Just found some interesting questions connected with this topic in the book "Non VViolent Communication" by Marshall Rosenberg
    * What do I want this person to do?
    * What do I want this person's reasons to be for doing it?
    Powerful questions when you are playing the role of a father or a leader in work situation...

  9. Great article with excellent idea! I appreciate your post. I like ur blog nd thank u..!!!!

    Compress Part

  10. Thank you Compressor Part! It's great when one recieves feedback like this from your readers.Thanks a lot!