Friday, September 18, 2015

Chance is God

Locus of Control: Chance or GOd?

For several years I have taught Management students and am practicing managers and leaders the concept of Internal Locus of control. I have given questionnaires to assess the extent of internality or externality of people. I have always recommended that unless one feels that one has control over things that happen to him or her, one may not put in his/her best effort. I feel to a large extent we are the product of our inner talent, hard work and efforts. This approach is necessary to make things happen. Do we really make things happen? However as one grows and with series of encounters and experiences, one begins to feel the extent to which we are not in control of things. There seem to be too many factors that effect. For example if I want to reform the Board of Governors of an Institution for which I work, can I do it alone, howsoever I may believe in my own competence or the genuineness of the need? Waht if made choices other than those I made at different points of me? Am I responsible for the same? For example what if I persisted and managed to go abroad to study? What if I did not come in touch with people like Fr. Gordon? or EGP or Dr. Dave or Udai Pareek/ or McClelland? or Ravi Matthai? or Samuel Paul? What if I married some one else than Jaya? What if am born in anotehr family than to Raghavamma? What if did not start NHRDN? What if I drafted the constitution of NHRDN differently ? What if I did not leave IIMA after I got 20 year service medal? What if we did not start AHRD? What if AHRD was not shifted back to Ahmedabad IN 2000? There are innumerable whats for which there is no answer. life is full of points and each point gives us a new turn. When we take a turn we take the decision and feel that we made it. Some times we feel so without knowing the way the future is going to take the turn. What turn it will take is not in our hands. Then in whose hands?. It is filled with chance factors. chance after Chance and chance after chance. It is these series of chances that I have begun to feel that we name as God. Nothing is in our hands. It is in the hands of God. Prayer helps. But what does prayer mean? Prayer means to be good. to think good, to speak good and to do good. Prayer puts us in a different pedestal. It does not matter what happens to us in praying we are trying to be good. When one is good e to out selves and to each other then the sorrows of the world will take a different meaning. Experience the new world of there is nothing in your hands. Do your duty. Keep doing what you are supposed to do. Lord Krishna gave so much wisdom and Jesus Christ gives direction to this wisdom. Buddha shows salvation for self. I everything is in you control your thoughts, desires and actions. Everything is temporary. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Always Be Positive Even if you have to be Negative!!!!

I am on the Advisory Board of a few academic Institutions. When I think that the institution can do far better and keep hearing the complaints from others I feel an urge to share what I hear with the Heads of these institutions. However, as I check with others, I find that they share my views but don't want to raise any issue with the head nor even want to guide him. Some of them encourage me to raise and prompt me to bell the cat. Whenever I have shared my comments transparently my experience has been that I lost a few of the good friends I have- specially the Head of the place. It looks no one would like to hear negative things even if they are meant to help them. 15 years ago Udai Pareek and I received a complaint about how badly one of the Institutions with whom we both were associated was being managed. Many people complained. When we took up the matter and acted on it, the very people who complained vehemently about the Institution accused us of being negative for taking action on the Institution and shifting its Director and the location. The person who complained and wrote nasty mails earlier, became the best friend  of the Head on whom he took action. What lesson do I learn? Not to complain and  also not give credibility to people who complain!!!. Recently I was doing a OD exercise with another institution and the faculty were very cooperative during the exercise but privately all of them expressed serious reservation about the Head and his/her style of of functioning. they expressed their unhappiness and their inability to confront her/him. When I brought out the issue into open, none of the faculty spoke up. I am sure the Head felt that I am the villain behind these comments. I have come to the conclusion that we Indians always maintain two or more faces. We keep changing them as per our convenience. We have a private face, a public face and a changing face which changes with the context. It is so difficult to make out which face one is using when one is criticizing others. We tend to believe that their criticism is the truth. Often I am told that those who give negative comments  are the ones expecting favors or have been denied favors from the top. It is so difficult to practice openness and trust in a culture that maintains different fees and changes with the context. I am slowly learning to not to believe those who make negative comments and believe only those who make positive comments. Positive views and comments do no harm and make you as well as the other person happy. Negative comments give you sleepless nights. Perhaps soon I will resolve "never to give negative feedback and always be positive". 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Less Known Story of National HRD Network: An Autobiographic Account

The Untold story of NHRDN

1985 March 2:
Last session of the Workshop on Recent Experiences in HRD by XLRI Centre for HRD and L&T. As the session was concluding I had a sense of satisfaction that we shared very frankly and openly about HRD its understandings, misunderstanding, implementation, lack of it and so on. I have already decided to return back to IIM Ahmedabad from XLRI. Fr. Abraham also wanted to come to Ahmedabad to peruse his Ph. D. at Ahmedabad. No one was going to be left at XLRI CHRD. Fr. Abraham decided to continue the work while at Ahmedabad with the HRD Newsletter and other activities. 

The question arose: do we learn from each other like we have learnt in the last four days only if XLRI or L&T or IIM or any other such institution organises such National seminars. Is HRD not at an evolving stage we need to continuously share our experiences and thoughts irrespective of facilitation by XLRI or L&T or IIMs? The answer from the audience was “Yes” We should continue to share these experiences and make sure that we learn from each other.

Then I posed another question: should the 37 of us be the only ones to learn from each other? Should we not include others? The answer was yes. We should have many more.

Then I posed another question: Should we meet only once a while or meet more frequently. The answer was: more frequently.

Then I posed next question: Should we not do all this in our respective cities? Should we not disseminate what we have learnt from each other to others in our cities? The answer was yes.

How do we do that? Can we not from a body informally or formally to do this? The answer was “Yes”.
Rajen Gupta from Jyoti’s  ( now at MDI) suggested we call ourselves HRD Network as network has a meaning of being connected with each other and forming at the same time a whole.

The Network was  thus conceived on March 2nd, 1985. I took the responsibility to lead and asked for volunteers in each city. Kishore Rao and Prasanna volunteered from Bangalore, PVR Murthy and Chandrasekhar volunteered from Chennai. Rajen and perhaps Saurabh Dixit for Baroda and I agreed along with KK Verma for Ahmedabad. We decided to request P K Sanangi for Delhi. T P Raman and Mohan volunteered for Mumbai. Later Kantha Rao latter wrote to L&T and subsequently to me to start it in Hyderabad. We went on discussing this for the next few months in IIMA corridors. S Chandrasekhar was a frequent visitor to push this idea. My consulting work with L&T ECC got us to interact more frequently. In fact he managed to get the South Indian regional Chapter inaugurated by Madras Management Association. Dr. Thyagarajn readily agreed and facilitated as President of MMA. We created an occasion for it by organising a joint seminar by NHRDN and XLRI on performance appraisals at Madras. Fr. Abraham continued this through HRD newsletter from CHRD at XLRI  from Ahmedabad.

We used CHRD to mobilise funds for the newsletter. The deal used to be that any sponsor will give an article highlighting their HR practice. There will be an academic article and several case studies and news items and snippets. We gave the privilege to be the first sponsor to L&T. We did not ask any additional funds but used the surplus from the National Seminar for the first Newsletter. The next one was financed my good friend T Shanmugam from State Bank of Patiala, the third from PVR from Sundaram Clayton, and the fourth from Hindustan petroleum here I was consulting from IIMA. The next one from MMTC when Mr. S V S Raghavan visited IIMA. It went on free of cost. We printed a free membership form for HRD Network and mailed to people. Fr Abraham mailed it too about 2000 every issue. There were no e-mails in those days. All surface mails. St Xavier’s Loyola students sued to help Fr Abraham to p writ envelops insert the newsletter in to the envelops etc.  It was printed here in Ahmedabad except the first one at Jamshedpur  and a few years latter all shifted to Jamshedpur.

We planned a conference in 1987 and wanted it to be a benchmarkable one. I  learnt a few lessons from the International conference held at IIMA by Prof Khandwalla and a few others from ISTD I used to attend. We wanted it world class. The L&T culture at Madras (Chennai) helped as Chandrasekhar will be the program manager. He organised everything meticulously. We got  Economic  Times devote a full page for the conference. I requested the editor Manu Shroff who was my colleague at IIMA and he readily agreed. 

For all these we registered NHRDN in December 1986. Mr. K K Nair Executive secretary of AMA got the memorandum papers cyclostyled made documents and took me on his two wheeler to Charity Commissioner’s office for registration. It was decided in a meeting held at my house No.  424, IIMA where all founder trustees came and my wife served some nice snacks and rasgollas. For registration  we gave the address as my own office address Wing No 15 IIMA.  IIMA encouraged such institution building activities as a part of professionalization of management. In fact when the Academy was started by NHRDN, M R R Nair wrote to Director IIMA (Prof. N R Sheth) for sparing my time for it as an Institution Building activity. Director IIMA formally approved my being Honorary Director of AHRD and the only requirement he ahs d was that I should document my experiences and make it available as a part of the Ravi Matthai centre.

The real birth of NHRDN began with the successful conduct of the first Conference. This conference  distributed a book on the first day containing conference papers, had a CEO conclave attended by most famous CEOs of that time ( M V Subbaiah, M V Arunachalam, Deenadayal, Dr Krishnamurthy, K K Nohria etc. ) and a well attended General Body meeting that laid the foundation for next few conferences and their philosophy. I remember a comment made by on Meenakshi Khasliwal (Nair) in the AGM that the discussions were too manager-centric and we seem to have forgotten workers. HRD can’t be focussed on managers alone. We decided that the next conference will be on workmen. MRR Nair made this happen with all his contacts two years later. Arvind Agarwal, Shashi  Khanna, P K Sarangi, Anil Sachdev, Rakesh Kumar played very significant roles and M R R Nair took over as second President of NHRDN. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

TVRLS HR Competencies Model

TVRLS Competency List for HRD Professionals
(Extracts from the books on “HRD Audit” by T. V. Rao, Sage, 2014 and “HRD Score Card 2500” by T. V. Rao, Sage, 2008)
TVRLS developed a competency model for HR professionals. In my book on HRD Missionary published in 1990 I have given a list of competencies very elaborately. The details published subsequently in my books on HRD Score Card 2500 and HRD Audit second edition are highlighted here.

Out of its own research and experience T V Rao Learning Systems Pvt Ltd has identified the following ten set of competencies as required by HR professionals to be successful and make a difference.

1. Business Knowledge: Knowledge of business (products, services, customers, technology, competitors, developments, R&D) and all functions (Sales and marketing, Production and operations, Finance, systems, MIS, logistics, services etc.), Knowledge of Business capital (intellectual capital) and its constituents and methods of building Business capital:
·         Knows all about business, competitors, products and services, demand for the products and services, market share of the company, raw material and supply systems, share value and pricing information, competitors and likely competitors familiar with financial parameters of business ;
·         Knows about the vision, mission and values of the company ;
·         Knows about the nature of work, familiar with the technology used ;
·         Knows technical details to some extent. Can converse with a customer;  
·         Knows and appreciate all functions in the company ;
·         Familiar with balance sheet figures, sources of profit, and informed about value-adding activities of the company. Also knows about the intellectual capital of the company and the portion of fixed assets to the market value of the company, etc.;
·         Has world-wide knowledge
·         Has thorough knowledge about these matters, and  constantly updating self  with the changing scenario, and information)
2. Functional Excellence: (i)  HR Knowledge, (ii) HR Delivery including culture sensitivity, empathy, coaching and facilitation:
·         Highly-trained & professionalised in their field. Have had the required professional preparation.
·         Familiar with the theory and practice behind HR, especially in terms of, various systems and practices in relation to manpower planning, recruitment, testing, induction, integration and assimilation, retention research and strategies, PMS, potential appraisal, ADCs, retirements management, training, e-learning, HRIS, SAP and ERP applications, implementation issues, employee engagement surveys, organizational structuring, issues and cultural problems, and cautions in mergers and acquisitions, etc.
·         Culturally sensitive. If concerned with overseas operations is familiar with the cultures where the company has its business (for example, China, US and UK, African countries, Indonesia, etc.).
·         Makes effort to learn about the cultures where the business operates or plans to operate.
·         Shows a high degree of interpersonal sensitivity and empathy to the employees. Use the competencies  to resolve conflicts and sort out problems.
·         Have coaching and facilitation skills.
·         Good at execution and HR delivery.
3.  Leadership and Change Management: (i) Communication, (ii) Initiative, and (iii) creativity and (iv) Change management:
·         Excellent written communication skills.
·         Good at communicating orally, and negotiates and presents well.
·         Participated in change management earlier successfully, and had the required skills to introduce and manage change.
·         Known to be great initiative taker, and has put the HR of the company on the national or international map.
·         Participates in dissemination of HR practices and gets ideas from such participation.
·         Creative.
·         Takes part in change, participates in local initiatives, community work, innovations, global and local seminars, and leads discussion.
·         Encourages juniors to take lead roles, and build their competencies.
·         Contributes to brand building and intellectual capital formation of the company.

4.  Strategic Thinking: Analytical ability, cost and quality sensitivity, Ability to spot opportunities, anticipate and find alternate ways of solving problems:  
(for details of the indicators see the book on HRD Score card 2500, by T. V. Rao Sage)
5.  Personal Credibility:
(for details of the indicators see the book on HRD Score card 2500, by T. V. Rao Sage)
6. Technology Savvy: including HR technology and Research Methods
(for details of the indicators see the book on HRD Score card 2500, by T. V. Rao Sage)
7. Personnel Management and Administrative skill
(for details of the indicators see the book on HRD Score card 2500, by T. V. Rao Sage)
8. Vision of the function and Entrepreneurship
(for details of the indicators see the book on HRD Score card 2500, by T. V. Rao Sage)
9. Learning Attitude and Self Management: (i) self awareness and desire to learn (ii) Time management, (iii) Networking, (iv) Research and analytical skills
(for details of the indicators see the book on HRD Score card 2500, by T. V. Rao Sage)
10. Execution Skills: (i) Planning and Monitoring skills, (ii) cultural sensitivity, (iii) persuasive skills, (iv) Behaviour modification techniques and  group dynamics, (v) ability to  craft interventions for implementation, (vi) cost and quality sensitivity

(for details of the indicators see the book on HRD Score card 2500, by T. V. Rao Sage)


HRD competencies can be audited using several methods. The more important ones are given below.

♦   Knowledge testing
♦   Attitudes and values
♦   Self-assessment by HR professionals
♦   Peer level assessment or 360-degree assessment
♦   Assessment of the HRD function or department by line managers
♦   Assessment centres

Knowledge Testing

The HRD profession in India has come of age. There is a body of knowledge available in India for the HRD profession. There are full-time master’s programmes, doctoral programmes and various other short-term courses. A good HRD manager is expected to have a basic minimum knowledge in HRD. The knowledge forms an essential component of HRD competencies. Without this knowledge base the HRD manager is not likely to perceive the roles needed and may not be able to perform them well. Just as knowledge of anatomy and physiology are important for becoming a doctor or a surgeon, the basic knowledge of HRD including that of adult learning, HRD tools, conditions of learning, etc., is essential for becoming a skilled HRD professional. Tests can be developed for assessing the knowledge base of any candidate. TVRLS, an HRD company, has developed a series of tests for assessing the knowledge base of HRD professionals. Some sample items from this test are presented in Chapter 9of the book on HRD Audit 2nd edition. The TVRLS–HRDKA Test deals with the basic knowledge required for HRD professionals.

Attitudes and Values

Some basic attitudes and values are needed for effective performance of HRD roles. These include a faith and self-confidence in one’s own ability to influence and make things happen—also known as the internal locus of control. Without faith in HRD, personal effectiveness attitudes, empathy and the right work values, the HRD manager will not be able to function well. There are a number of tests available to measure some of these variables. Some of these are presented in Chapter 11. These include TVRLS–HRD–LOC, the work values scale, personal effectiveness questionnaires and empathy questionnaire. Some questionnaires can be used from other sources as well.

Self-assessment and 360-degree Appraisal

HRD managers can assess themselves on the above-mentioned checklist. Such self-assessment can indicate the competence areas and competence gaps. This can be supplemented further by a 360-degree assessment. This may include the peers, bosses, direct reports and other internal and external customers. Two questionnaires in Chapter 11 entitled, Professional Preparation in HRD and HRD Profile Questionnaire, are also self-assessment questionnaires that provide information about the nature and extent of the professional preparation of the HRD manager.

Assessment of the Department or Internal Customer Satisfaction Surveys

The HRD audit questionnaires given in Chapter 11 have a section dealing with the assessment of the effective functioning of the HRD department or function. This assessment is made by the line managers and other respondents from the organisation and is likely to give a good evaluation of the effectiveness of the department. Internal customer satisfaction surveys also can be developed and used.

Skill Assessment through Assessment Centres

The HRD skills of the staff can be best evaluated by through an assessment centre. However, such assessment centres cannot be organised as a part of the HRD audit as they require special attention and focus, which makes them expensive and time-consuming. However, if the organisation has a large number of HR employees and is interested in building their competencies, it is useful to conduct an assessment centre for them to test their skill base. Such an assessment centre may use a variety of methods including simulation exercises such as an in-basket.
(Extracts of an illustrative audit report of the HRD function in an organisation is presented in the book on HRD Audit 2nd edition by T V Rao Box 8.7).