Tag Archives: Work culture

Manager’s Guide: How can I make it easier for a new hire to transition in my group? (Part 3)

SelfAssessmentOnce you are done training your new hire on the workings of your team and the organization (see my previous blogs), you can then go ahead and talk to her about her development within your organization. This will not only help you to develop some strong relationship with your employees but also motivate her by demonstrating that the company is willing to invest in her future. In this blog, I will provide you with some practical tips through which you can motivate your new hire.

Motivation: It is very essential for you as a manager to discuss what are meaningful motivators for your employees. Make sure that your new hire knows about your existing employee’s values and energizing criteria. You should also explain her the potential financial incentives (i.e., cash sharing, bonuses). Describe the potential opportunities for advancement with the team, department or company, and how she can advance herself to achieve those motivators. Don’t just train her theoretically on how we will measure her accomplishments, but provide some specific examples of her probable accomplishments. For example: You will work on this software development project, and your achievements will be measured against the total time and budget required to finish this project. This will give her a clear picture of how your team recognizes accomplishments. She can then work towards achieving those goals, and making your team successful in the process of doing that.

Learning & Development: No one wants stagnant employees, who can’t grow with the organization. Thus, every new hire should be explained their growth options by their managers. As a manager, you should always inform your employees about the path to succeed. You should not only explain them what is expected from them to advance their career in your organization, but you should also talk about opportunities to participate in associations, professional organizations or networking groups through which they can succeed. You can go one step further by finding out how your employee likes to learn (seeing, listening, doing), and then exploring what skills and abilities your employees seek to develop in order to perform the job more effectively. You can also take this opportunity to discuss how your employees can prepare for future responsibilities, and what type of developmental opportunities are available.

I hope these tips will help you to become a better manager by providing a clear direction for your newly hired employee. Let me know, if you have any other ideas through which you can help your employees to easily transition to your company. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi


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How can you deal with your micromanaging boss without quitting your job?

ManagementStyleDon’t get me wrong. Micromanagement is also a style of management, and sometimes it is needed to manage some employees, but it doesn’t work in 80% of the professional environment these days. What will you do, if your Manager is a Micro-manager? How will you handle that situation?

I got the idea of writing this blog from a conversation that I overheard in the café. The conversation goes something like this…………..

  • Mr. X: What happened to you? You don’t look so good.
  • Mr. Y: Don’t ask? Tough times at work.
  • Mr. X: Tough times? I heard you even got promoted few months back. What happened all of a sudden?
  • Mr. Y: That’s the problem. My new manager is a Micromanager. He keeps tabs on me. I can’t even go to the men’s room without informing him. I feel I am in some kind of a prison. Do you know any other jobs that I can apply for?
  • Mr. X: I am sorry to hear about your situation. You know what? There is this Project Manager Job that recently opened up in my firm, and I think you would be a better fit for it. Let me pull some strings and I will get back to you.

Let’s assume that Mr. Y was right, and his manager was at fault here. What would have he done? In this blog, I will provide few pointers to effectively deal with your Micromanager.

Talk to him about it: I am a huge believer of second chances. And that is the reason why, I would recommend you to directly talk with your manager about this (preferably in your one-on-one session). Some managers are micro-managers by nature, and if you don’t point out that this style of management annoys you, then he will never know about it, and might not change his style of management. At least by having this conversation, you are giving him a chance to change.

Decide a fixed time for rounds: Most of the micromanagers like to make 5-6 rounds a day to check up on their employees. Obviously, you might not be able to change their behavior overnight, but you can definitely work with them to agree upon some fixed timings for their rounds. In this way, they don’t feel like they are losing their control over you, and at the same time you get some fixed time of their visits, so that you can prepare yourselves.

Establish your SMART goals: There are very few managers, who are micromanagers by nature. Most of the other managers use the micro-managing approach because they want to continuously monitor your performance. What if…… you take a proactive action about it, and work with your manager to establish your SMART goals? In this way, your manager will have an established method through which he can measure your performance. Thus, he won’t need to visit your cubical 24×7.

I hope these tips will help you to better manage your micro-managing Boss. Feel free to comment on my blog, if you have any other ideas to deal with your micro-managing Boss. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi


Posted by on March 12, 2012 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management


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Manager’s Guide: How can I make it easier for a new hire to transition in my group? (Part 2)

classic-booksIn my last blog post, I have discussed few ways through which you can make your new hire understand your company’s goals and objectives. In this blog, I will provide you some tips on how you can make your new hire acquainted to your team culture and communication channels.

Talk about the rules: After you have explained your strategic objectives and work culture, now it’s time for you to explain her about your expectations. Some of the managers leave it unsaid. But I prefer to talk to all of my employees about the performance expectations. In this way, they can specifically know what they have signed up for, and you can avoid having performance improvement talks later. You can start this conversation by establishing clear goals and priorities for her; and then you can progress towards expected employee’s behavior, your feedback process, and how her work will be evaluated. Don’t forget to outline the path through which you will help her to be successful.

The Team: Providing an understanding of the team’s roles and responsibilities is very key to the new hire’s success. This will make sure that she doesn’t step on someone’s foot, and she can know who is ultimately responsible and who has the decision making authority. During this discussion, you should explain her how your team supports company’s goals and objectives. This will give her the overall picture of your team, and where it fits in to the organization. And yeah! Don’t forget to discuss the procedures & norms under which your team operates. For example: Our team follows an agile development process, where each engineer is paired with one another team member for the development of a particular feature. Last but not the least, identify the people who can help her during her first few months in the company, and how they prefer to communicate.

Communication: Being a software development manager for years, I have seen various managers failed to provide this information to their employees. As a result, you have a new geeky employee who got herself acquainted to only e-mails, and you have to wait for her e-mail response for feedback. Thus, I would advise you to have these conversations beforehand. Convey to your new employee how you would prefer to be communicated, and what should be the frequency of those communications. For example: I expect an e-mail response within 1-2 hours. In case of a blocking issue, I want you to call me up instead of waiting for me to reply to your e-mail. And yeah! Explain how your employees prefer to communicate with themselves.

I hope these tips will help you to become a better manager by providing a clear direction for your newly hired employee. In the next blog post, I will be discussing about how to familiarize your new hire with the growth opportunities within your organization.

Let me know, if you have any other ideas through which you can help your employees to easily transition to your company. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi

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Posted by on March 5, 2012 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management


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Why can’t your business have any ethical standards?

Have you ever thought why big company’s CEO can cash in on millions of dollars in bonuses and still remain untouchable by Federal Government? Have you ever thought why media always talks about ethical issues, and nothing ever happens to those people? Recently, I was watching a documentary on how big companies are moving their IPs (intellectual properties) to Ireland, and paying only 15% taxes there instead of paying 35% tax in United States. Then I asked myself a question….. Is this legal? ……The answer came out to be…. “YES”. They are not doing anything wrong legally. So, government in United States can’t do anything about this. This raised an another question in my mind….. Is it ethical? ….. And surprisingly the answer came out to be as “YES”. And here is why……

Basics of business: Have you ever saw the definition of business? If you have then you know what I am talking about. In defining a business, ethics don’t play in to the picture at all. Sole purpose of a business is to increase the value for its stakeholders. Thus, can you blame those businesses, who are taking advantage of the lower tax policies in Ireland to increase their net income? It might be morally wrong for those businesses to show all of their profit in Ireland, while they get their 50-70% profit from United States, but you can’t do anything about that. As more and more countries loosen their tax policies to attract foreign businesses, there would always be some companies who want to move there to increase their net profit by paying lower taxes there.

Definition of ethics: In my opinion, definition of ethics is very subjective. I don’t think that you can have a clear defined ethical standards globally. Whenever you try to define ethics, it doesn’t remain ethics anymore. It becomes a law or a rule. For example: If you think that it’s not an ethical practice for people to do insider trading on the basis of the insider information, and if you want to change that then you might want to change the law which punishes those people. Unless you put that law in practice, you will always find immoral people, who will be using their insider knowledge to make huge bucks for themselves. At the end, ethics shrink down to morals and personal belief of that particular individual, who is running that business. Because there is nothing clearly defined in the books, which will prevent this person from taking unethical decisions.

Subjective nature: As I mentioned earlier, ethics basically shrinks down to morals and beliefs of the person who is handling that business. Thus, ethics tend to be very subjective in nature. And there are various other factors that affects the core definition of ethics. For example: It would be considered unethical for an employer to hire a kid, who is only 15 years old. But in some countries, some government encourages companies to hire younger people, so that they can support their family, while getting the invaluable professional training for their future. Thus, you can’t exactly define what is ethical and what is not, when your business is global and you yourself can’t define what is considered ethical.

Though I have my tight morals, beliefs, and ethical standards; I don’t think that a business, as an entity, can have any kind of ethical standards. Of course, business can have rules and policies under which it can operate, but there can’t be any ethical standards that it can abide to. I hope you liked my argument in this blog. Please feel free to discuss your view points on the same. I am always curious to hear different perspective from different people. Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management


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Manager’s Guide: How can I make it easier for a new hire to transition in my group? (Part 1)

I have written numerous blogs about how to familiarize yourself with your new job, but I have never focused on writing the other side of the story. In this blog series, I will provide some guidelines which can help you to conduct useful conversations with your new employees during the onboarding process. I hope that you can create a positive onboarding experience for your employees through these tips.

Talk about strategic objectives: Obviously, you need to have several conversations between you and the new employee over first 6-7 months, but make sure to make the strategic objectives as your primary conversation topic. This will not only make her understand the relationship between her tasks and the objectives of your company, but it will help you to make her understand the overall picture. You can start this discussion by talking about the company’s vision and strategy; and then you can progress towards explaining her the company’s goals, priorities and business initiatives. During this discussion, you should always ensure that you try to connect company’s goals and your team’s goals with her day-to-day activities. This practice will help you in making her an autonomous resource of your team, who can connect the dots by herself.

Talk about the culture: I have seen various managers, who fails to explain the existing culture of their company to a new hire. They think that the new hire will catch up on the company’s culture with time. While this perception has some credibility, I would advise not to do that. If you would have explained the company’s culture to the new hire during the onboarding process, then it will make her transition easier and smooth, while you can benefit from her understanding of the existing culture. You can initiate this conversation by describing her the culture of the company including company’s norms, beliefs, values, traditions, symbols, etc. For example: our working hours are 8-5pm, and all the employees are supposed to be present on the company premises between our core hours – 9am to 4pm.

I hope these tips will help you to become a better manager by providing a clear direction for your newly hired employee. In the next blog post, I will be discussing about how to familiarize your new hire with the rules of your team.

Let me know, if you have any other ideas through which you can help your employees to easily transition to your company. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi

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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management


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New hire’s guide to learn the culture of the company

My team is currently growing. We are hiring few new people at this time. And as we hire new people, I need to make sure that they get appropriate tools and training to come up to speed. Thus, I was creating an on-boarding plan for these new hires. My initial plan only contained specifics of what processes, technologies and tools that they need to learn. I didn’t have any idea about how to train them on our existing culture. And I thought of this blog. Following are few pointers, which might help you in learning the existing culture of your new company.

Policies: The organizational policies and procedures influence the projects that a company undertakes. The organizational procedures will determine how to implement new strategies and if the work environment will be formal or informal. For example: some organizations may allow employees to work anytime from 7.00am to 7.00pm, while other organizations may be very strict about their working hours. To get yourself acquainted with these policies, you should read all the possible policy documents at your disposal. HR department would be your best bet to find more information. Detailed oriented observation of your co-workers can also help you in learning unwritten policies.

Values: The values, beliefs and expectations of an organization have a major impact on the organizational culture. The organization’s strategic decision making choices, preferences, and approach will vary based on its values and beliefs. The criteria for the election of a project are determined by the organizational culture. For example: a competitive, ambitious and assertive organization will select projects with high risks, while a highly rigid and authoritarian origination might not take projects with high risks. Most of these values are derived from your company’s culture or your team’s culture. Your best bet would be observing your manager’s behavior and socialize with your colleague to get more information. Going out on lunch with your coworker can give you many valuable insights.

Management style: The management style of the organization is another factor that affects the organizational culture. Some managers follow a coaching style, while other managers follow a controlling style. After observing the management style of your organization, you can determine if your feedbacks will be valued or not? If the management is going to implement new strategies based on your feedback or not? As a new employee, I would recommend you to adapt to the management style of an organization. And once you properly understand your Manager’s management style, try to provide your feedback in the manner that he/she will understand.

I hope these tips will help you to learn the culture of your new company as soon as possible. Please feel free to comment on my blog, if you have any other suggestions regarding this subject. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi


Posted by on July 5, 2011 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management


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3 simple tips to successfully change your organizational culture

ReinventRecently, I was helping one of my client to develop a new line of product in their product portfolio. With the help of their existing equipments and resources, they could have come out with this new product very easily. In order to create this new product, they required a major shift in their existing culture. Maybe that was the major reason why this initiative hadn’t worked for them.

Organizational culture is formed over years through historical events, employee’s shared values, employee’s shared beliefs, organization’s leadership, etc. Normally, organizational culture grows over time, and most of the times people are comfortable with the existing culture. Thus, we can’t expect an immediate change in the organizational culture. But we can progressively change organizational culture through following steps:

Understand your existing culture: Before any organization can change its culture, it must first understand the existing culture. There are various ways to perform cultural analysis of your organization. Few methods that I use for cultural analysis are: Schein’s rubric and Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. Schein’s rubric can be used for understanding the organizational culture of a smaller company, while Hofstede’s cultural dimensions can be used for understanding the culture of International organizations.

Develop cultural vision: After you are done with understanding your existing organizational culture, you need to develop a cultural vision for your organization. This is a crucial step, as you will be defining the strategic direction for your culture, and making sure that these cultural changes support your overall organizational goals. Envisioning culture artifacts, values and beliefs will help tremendously during this phase. For example: our new culture will have open door policy, tightened ethical standards, etc.

Change organization’s behavior: In this stage, we need to change organization’s behavior to create the desired organizational culture. We might not be able to change behavior of each and every individual, but we can make changes in the organizational structure and leadership to propagate these changes to an individual level. During this phase, we need to get full support from executives, and provide appropriate training to the employees to make this work. Communication is the key element for changing people’s behavior. Thus, we need to provide various channels of feedback and performance metrics, through which we can measure success of these changes. For example: employees feedback sessions, employee satisfaction survey, rate of increase/decrease of productivity, etc.

I hope, these tips will help you to successfully change your organizational culture over time. Please feel free to comment on my blog, if you have any other suggestions regarding organizational cultural change. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi


Posted by on May 25, 2011 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management


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