Citius – Altius – Fortius and the CEO

Citius – Altius – Fortius and the CEO

Citius – Altius – Fortius. These words mean Faster – Higher – Stronger. That’s what most CEOs caught in the current VUCA world want from their employees. To be sure, what it means in this context is: Reduce time to market, Higher profit and revenues, Stronger Quarter close. What can CEOs do with their employees to get them to train, practice and condition them to reduce time to market, Higher profit and revenues, Stronger Quarter close!? They can learn from what happens at the companies that Jerome Dodson picks for his Parnassus Workplace Fund. Read: Getting employees to be training, practicing and getting conditioned to operate in a VUCA world needs a conscious awareness of what they should train on and how. The author proposes that the answer lies in the continuous pursuit of Holistic wellness by every individual employee from you, the CEO to everyone else. This means embedding it within the corporate culture. What’s the Evidence and why should I bother? Since the Parnassus Workplace Fund’s inception (April 2005-January 2013) it’s proved immediately, enormously, and enduringly successful with a 9.63% annualized return. This compares to the S&P Index which has earned just 5.58% during the same period. “Our fund has had returns over 4% better than the S&P Index every year,” Dodson noted. “Eight years later, the performance of the fund confirms what I’ve always believed. Treating people well and authentically respecting them does lead to far better business performance. We proved it works.” So how do these special companies help its employees emulate the Olympic athlete? If the CEO makes time for exercise, for instance,... read more

A CEO’s ‘Gaffe’ and Linkedin Posts

Today’s Corporate America ..Is far from equitable to its employees from a wage perspective. Between CEO and the individual contributor the disparity in compensation versus economic need for money, is staggering. Today’s basis for computing compensation is geared to ensure more the survival of the company than the survival of its employee. If it were to follow the reverse philosophy things could pan out differently. Employee compensation is more as a consequence or means to justify the end i.e. the survival of the company. A CEO’s response and its interpretations Lets deconstruct some of the recent points of view of some respected LinkedIn influencers who were quick to criticize Microsoft’s CEO Nadella’s response to a question and rushed to endear themselves with the other gender’s just cause. One article stated, Quote: Since 2009, corporate profits in the US have increased by 84 percent, one of the largest five-year increases ever. In that same time, wages for American workers have increased by a mere 7.86 percent, despite record productivity. Never before in American history has there been such a gap between the percentage profits have increased in respect to the percentage wages have increased. Unquote. This statistic didn’t look right, so the author investigated these numbers in a way that would make sense to even a teenager. 1. Why look at 2009 and not 2005? Is it because that was the year of the GFC when the profit of all companies took the worst you start at a pseudo low baseline making for a dramatic starting point? Is that justified? 2. It shouldn’t take a person with tertiary qualifications... read more

Quick Survey

Hey Folks– Many of you may have flown by Malaysia Airlines some of you may have not. Irrespective, can you spare 3 mins to help? Here is a brand audit survey commissioned by my daughter’s Singapore Management University project on marketing, on Malaysian airlines. The results are anonymous. The survey times out in 48 hours. Nandhitha thanks you in advance for your help. Please click Thank you my friends and colleagues. Regards Gurunath... read more
A New Opportunity for CEOs to Up your Game

A New Opportunity for CEOs to Up your Game

The Rules of the Game are changing There is broad and growing consensus that in the 21st Century ‘VUCA’ workplace, staff who are cared for in a humane way are likely to be better at delivering results and weathering organizational adversity than ever before. If you are in doubt click here. What is a big challenge is where to start and how to sustain a cultural shift that will deliver on this end state. The pursuit of Wellness which leads to well-being should not be limited to two things: 1. Focused on physical and mental health alone 2. Be the exclusive preserve of organizations linked with healthcare such as hospitals. Baptist Health, MD Anderson etc. are examples Its great to see that taking shape. Reality is that employees everywhere are equally if not more stressed and pressured than healthcare workers. ‘Great Place to Work’ is doing a great job in fostering better workplaces and bench-marking them. The challenge and opportunity is that there are multiple ways/formulae to getting there. Current state of the art is to measure the outcome of interventions or policies that promote well-being and then decide if the interventions or policies are making sense. This approach provides a post facto way of measuring success. Its too late and its a gamble. In a Feb 2014 study by Gallup they found Many large companies already have engagement programs but most fail to engage employees. So rather than measure it in a round about fashion. i.e. degree of empowerment, quality of management, etc. what if we could find out exactly what’s stopping people, from living their work-life and... read more

What Energizes you

I’d like to get your inputs to the subject. As we go thru our day, our Energy level peaks and ebbs. Often we ignore it and soldier on. Occasionally we get pushed to do something about it. Maybe out of concern to be attentive in an upcoming team meeting or simply being in a positive and energized frame of mind while returning home. Below are a few. The only twist here is that it has to be something that energizes you in 5 mins. or less from the time you reach out to it. Turn on your energizer Music Munch your energizer Food Sip your energizer Beverage Indulge in your energizer Physical activity Play your energizer Computer Game Play a Real-world non-computer game Go talk to a friend Think of a time you felt like a Rock Star Take a power nap Read a fun book Have your say. What is your... read more

6 Leadership Lessons in Eulogies to an Iconic Leader

Today i witnessed, through teary-eyes at times, eulogies to a great human being from a very tiny and great country-Singapore. As the prime minister, president, past prime-ministers and other significant Singaporeans including Lee, Kuan Yew’s son, delivered their eulogies, I could not but help connect to how Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard are known to have built HP. Perhaps this post may help make us a better leader, from what i heard and learnt today. Simple. Focused on the task at hand: This means getting to the point and staying around it even in the face of distractions including things like visual distractions, sounds, ideas not on agenda etc. Deeply cared for people in the here and now by being aware of the now and addressing it right then and there even if it meant breaking away briefly from protocol. Fought hard to build out the vision that he had so much conviction in. Bill and Dave were determined in building a great company and they fought hard to build it.Mr. Lee, Kuan Yew did the same in building and guiding Singapore. Meditate- yes. This may or may not surprise you. I wouldn’t know if Bill and Dave meditated but Lee Hsien Loong, the current prime-minister of Singapore and eldest son of Lee Kuan Yew shared how his father learnt and encouraged his son to meditate. To clear the mind and get back in touch with oneself. Sense of urgency- there’s no time wasted on things that are either not family nurturing, wellness nurturing or goal nurturing Start of with the realities of what we are and let it... read more
Corporate Wellness Programs make us Unwell

Corporate Wellness Programs make us Unwell

Sensational as it may sound, this is precisely the title of a recent publication by HBR. The situation Obsessing over health alone is obsessing over physical well-being. Precisely why its not intuitive for corporate leaders to know how to get Wellness programs to work optimally. Reading this book will Help. The challenge Less than a quarter of the employees of a large multinational corporation even participated in their global wellness program. Let alone benefiting in any significant way from it. Wellness cannot be a program. Its a lifelong happy pursuit. It has to be a culture, a mindset. Similar to quality and excellence. So for me, pursuing Wellness has to be predictive of something else(well-being). Wellness fits in perfectly with what Shawn Ackor says, “So for me, happiness has to be predictive of something else. So I’d go with the Greek definition of happiness, the ancient Greek definition, which is, “The joy that we feel striving after our potential.” In my experience of pursuit and outcomes Wellness is the strife and well-being is the predicate. The implication Companies spend a lot of money, effort and time on running wellness programs. employees are not properly orientated into the rationale for these. This results in poor ROIs both financially and from a time and effort, productivity and employee morale standpoint. The Evidence In the article Prof Andre states ‘there’s little evidence that superfitness correlates with leadership, good management, or even productivity’. Indeed that is obvious because: a. Expecting sustained excellence in performance and productivity at the workplace is a marathon and not a sprint. b. Unlike sports an office environment... read more

Much ado about employee Engagement

A recent poll by Gallup states 70% of American employees are not engaged at work. There have been some push backs. Gallup measures and we listen and learn but seldom know how to act. That’s where HBR’s article ‘What Great Managers Do to Engage Employees’ by James Harter and Amy Adkins comes in. They quote Gallup again ‘Mere transactions between managers and employees are not enough to maximize engagement. Employees value communication from their manager not just about their roles and responsibilities but also about what happens in their lives outside of work. The Gallup study reveals that employees who feel as though their manager is invested in them as people are more likely to be engaged. What tools do managers have today that can support the pursuit of making employees feel their manager is invested in them? My answer as a people manager and a managed employee is – most managers don’t have the social skills, training or tools to do justice to this important communication opportunity. I did not have it either. Mark C Crowley in a comment to the Forbes article wrote, ‘One key reason engagement has fallen so severely is that people have greatly changed what they need and expect in exchange for work – and our leadership practices have failed to evolve. What’s required now is that we reimagine leadership and identify all the things that can help restore 21st Century employee spirits, and motivate people to excel’. What’re your thoughts? What aspects of employees lives outside of work would seem appropriate to communicate on. What’s missing now? Best wishes to you and in... read more

Belated Happy Birthday Dave Packard!

7 September is Dave Packard’s birthday. As i deliver events for senior leadership and new talent i find these 11 simple rules that’s widely available on the net, nice reminders: Reproduced here for all of us: Dave Packard’s 11 simple rules 1. I first think of the other person. This is the key – the first requirement – to getting on well with others. It is the most difficult thing to do. If you succeed, the rest is a piece of cake. 2. Reinforce the other person’s feeling of importance. When we make someone else feel less important we frustrate one of their deepest instincts. Make the other person feel equal or superior and you will get on well with them. 3. Respect the other person’s individuality. Respect the other person’s right to be different from you. No two people are molded by the same forces. 4. Offer sincere recognition. If we believe someone has done something well, we should not hesitate in telling them. Warning: this does not imply the immoral use of flattery. For intelligent people, flattery produces exactly the response that it deserves, disdain that someone has lowered themselves. 5. Eliminate anything negative. Criticism rarely achieves what we intend, since it invariably causes resentment. The smallest suggestion of disapproval may cause resentment – to your own detriment – for years. 6. Avoid any attempt to change people. Everyone knows they are imperfect, but they don’t want other people to try to correct their faults. If you want someone to improve, help them to embrace a higher goal, a standard, an ideal, and this will work much... read more