43 reasons why employees leave an organization

  1. Unhappy employee
  2. Not feeling fulfilled
  3. Irrelevant job needs and the person skills
  4. Weaker / undefined career path
  5. Lack of recognition
  6. The family needs not met
  7. Because the spouse (or someone very important) is settling to another city or country
  8. Poor salary, Poor benefits, no perks!
  9. Low morale
  10. Change of personal goals
  11. Sensing layoff!
  12. Poor Organization Culture
  13. Ineffective reward systems
  14. Boring workplace
  15. Feeling of boredom
  16. Lack of challenges
  17. Work-life imbalance
  18. Stressful work environment
  19. Very demanding client
  20. The culture of not taking accountability
  21. Less overall communication between people
  22. Lost faith in the vision
  23. Too much Internal politics
  24. Company culture mismatch with an individual’s values
  25. Too much bureaucracy
  26. Too much agility
  27. Insecurity
  28. Unfriendly leave policy
  29. Hostile environment
  30. Revised mission statement not exciting
  31. Lack of growth opportunities
  32. Salary not in alignment with responsibilities!
  33. Lack of learning opportunities
  34. Lack of coaching, training and mentoring
  35. Bad Boss
  36. Whimsical reporting manager
  37. Lack of motivation
  38. Indistinctive  leadership in different situations
  39. Management does not keep promises
  40. Lack of trust and confidence in the boss/management
  41. Bad Team
  42. Sore relationship with team members
  43. Mental/physical abuse

7 things I knew when I was a kid

The unexpressed goal of any life is self-actualization and “learning” is one of the key tools that help you actualize yourself.

Learning involves the process of learning, unlearning and relearning. This process obviously invites an encounter with failure and success, both.

While learning from our own failure is a great area to focus on, we cannot afford to lose the opportunity to learn from other’s failures (…or mistakes or mere lack of knowledge).

In this context, I’d like to share 7 things if I had known earlier could have made a positive difference in my being:

  1. It’s the question that matters, not the answer – For almost two and half decades of my life, I worked hard for finding the right answers. It worked well in some situations but not always. Sometimes, it led to situations full of stress. But from the day I learned to ask the right questions, things changed, all for good. Why? Because questions invite the answers from different sources and provide you with the mindset needed to work ‘ON’ the things in an effective way rather than working ‘IN’ the things.
  2. Leadership needs no titles – In my early career, I was thinking that I’ll be able to execute things well when I’ll get the title called ‘CEO’. Later I discovered that I was in total dark. I found out that everyone is a CEO. CEO of his or her own self and titles do not help you much in performing at your best. Leading beyond a title means being your best version; delivering excellence with 100% of your commitment, regardless of your title or position. It applies to personal life also. For example, you don’t need a title of ‘father’ or ‘mother’ to give selfless love to a child.
  3. Be a cause in the matter; not the effect – The folks who find themselves on the ‘effect’ side of the matter are the most miserable; exactly opposite to the leaders who choose to be a cause in the matter. Being cause in the matter means taking responsibility. And once you start operating from the context of being responsible, massive actions happen and results follow.
  4. The most effective path to excellence is Be…Do…Have – I would have loved to discover this earlier. Most people focus on first doing than being and then expecting to have but it seldom works like that. Instead, it works well when you first ‘become’ something; then your actions would be exactly like whom you have become and then you will have exactly what you need. For example, despite the non-technical academic background, when I chose to become a computer programmer, I did everything that programmers should do and got a good programming job also. More than a decade passed since then but still, I’m a programmer. I can program different things including computer software, photography sequences or marriage functions, marketing presentations or game strategy, with ease. It has become possible just because I focused on BEING whatever I had to be; a programmer in this case.
  5. Life is empty and meaningless, and empty and meaningless is also empty and meaningless – I searched for the meaning of life for almost 30 years to discover that there’s no meaning of life unless we (or someone) associate a meaning to it. Quality of the picture of life will depend on the lens we look from. And to assign whatever meaning we want to assign, we need nothingness. In the nothingness, there’s a space. Space which invites us to discover the realm of the possibilities out of which we’ll choose to do whatever we intend to do.
  6. Silence is the secret to sanity – I was shocked to discover that I invested my energies in speaking…speaking and speaking for many years to win an outspoken personality award amongst friends and family. The day I learned to become silent, I really learned to listen. Listen to the many things I was not able to earlier. I discovered that speaking took up a lot of energy which could have been used in understanding. I discovered that the Listening habit took my communication to the next level. I really became saner when I learned this skill.
  7. Less is more – The ‘More is more’ thinking process ate up many years of my life. I used to start 4-5 projects at a time and start working on all of them simultaneously. It means, my energies were only 20 to 25 % utilized on each project. I was proud of my multitasking ability. But I was wrong, from the context of effectiveness. This was a proven path to be ineffective.  Later, on the back of several unbearable failures, I started to focus on one thing at a time and it started giving immense results. Then I made this my mantra for effectively doing anything: Laser focus on less and you’ll get more (meaningful work) done!.

Sooner is better than later and timely application of excellence leads to definite success. Excellence is created out of performance which is the result of consistent actions which are usually ignited out of knowledge, no matter experienced or gathered.

So, if you find something which you think you should have known earlier and could have made a difference, please feel free to share it in the comments.

This post is inspired from a thought provoking blogger Abubakar Jamil’s post 22 things he wished he had known earlier and honored to be a part of The Life Lessons Series.

PS: Leadership Development Carnival is up at GreatLeadershipByDan and I’m honored to have my How To Caffeinate Your Leadership Repertoire post included.

7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Managers

In my decade long career, I’ve observed different types of managers: Good and bad;  effective and ineffective; powerful and poor. Different.

Today I’m going to write about some of the common acts; one or more usually found in the managers who can be classified as ‘poor’ because they fail to serve the organization’s goal.

Here are 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Managers:

  1. Take everyone and everything for granted: Nothing matters. Their own life, their family, their friends, their workplace, their team members, their customers… everyone and everything.  They don’t keep promises and usually take more things on their platter than they can eat and digest. They don’t know that management starts with ‘Managing the self’ and don’t know what they don’t know.
  2. Cannot deal with change: It is said that ‘Change’ is the only constant in the business. Things change. Situations change. People change. Everything changes. Being able to manage the self, the team, the operations, and the projects on the face of change is the most important skill that is expected from a manager but they are not good at it.
  3. Change team members fast: Whenever their expectations are not met, they find out an excuse that the cause of the failure is their team member’s non-performance. So, they start losing trust in the team members and start to look for replacements.
  4. Set lousy goals: They don’t really understand what it is like setting SMART goals. They don’t keep the goals written and their personal and professional goals are often overlapped. Pity is that, they are not much worried about it because they are unaware of their true priorities of life.
  5. Focus on experience and titles rather than abilities and talents: They believe that more the experience, better the results. A good manager should always focus on making the best use of the available pool of talent…that’s what distinguishes them from the poor ones. But they just miss noticing that.
  6. Steal the credit: Whenever they get a chance, they love to grab the credit. “I did it” and “If I was not there, this task could never have been completed, you know!” are the favorite sentences in their vocabulary.  Such behaviors result in general dissatisfaction in the team and the team members also, sometimes indirectly, encourage the poor manager to become poorer.
  7. Delegate what they should not: They focus on getting rid of their responsibilities and call it ‘delegation’. While in essence, delegation means, “To give somebody else the power to act, make decisions or allocate resources on your behalf.”  But they use delegation as an escape tool rather than an important weapon in getting things done.

Not being a manager is a better choice than being a poor manager. It’s a blessing for people, for clients, and businesses. Think and take corrective actions about it if you find any of the acts in your management repertoire.

3 Critical Questions For The Managers:

  1. Do you perform – knowing or unknowingly – any of the acts mentioned above?
  2. Even to a minor degree?
  3. Do you think you need to change it in order to be an effective manager?

What many #sales driven organizations sometimes forget (and how not to)

I’ve observed organizations keeping no stones unturned to sell their stuff.

From hiring (so-called) intelligent management grads from top B-schools to making a wild number of on-site visits to making a local veteran with 40 years of industry experience overloaded with more functions than he can justify – just so that other persons can focus on sales…. means getting the “Goat” in the box!

Photo Credit: Shahrokh Dabiri’s Flickr photostream

Such organizations focus solely on increasing sales. To do that, they run aggressive campaigns, extensive cold calling, participate in many trade-shows, do a large number of on-site sales visits etc. – all the time they are running, running and running… to find more customers to sell their stuff.

They do not like to invest their time in making their operations process-based/effective. Investing in industry standard certifications like CMM or ISO 9001 and the discipline that is required to maintain such certifications is a waste of energy for them. Instead, they rely on an individual’s skills to get things done. In essence, they are neglecting to measure the quality of services or the products they are providing.

Often they overlook the basic principle that if the service you provide or the product you sell is outstanding; it will sell itself!

I’m not saying that aggressive marketing efforts are bad, I’m just saying that equal attention should be given to operations part of the business as well.

Such a biased mindset negatively impacts their employees, their family life, and the overall business over the long run. Such organizations end up with the poor group of employees who are just helpless people who don’t have any other career option available and hence are staying with them.

And such organizations expect that such employees will take care of their business. Can it really happen?

Here is one way to fix this problem to an extent: validate the quality of their products and services from the customer’s perspective and ensure the right delivery.

They can:

  1. be their own customer. Call their customer service department to talk with one of the executives. Call at different times. What kind of experience do they get with different executives?
  2. hire external consultants or ask their friends to just walk-in like their real-time customers… get the report of their experiences.
  3. ask their employees, “Would you buy the services that your organization offers?”  they should also drill into the reasons.

Now they should observe the pattern of the answers. Do these patterns resemble anything? If yes then they know what to do.

Four Causes of Poor Performance and What You Can Do About It

Do you know the most common causes of poor performance and even more important, how to deal with that?

“Identify the problem, understand the causes that created the problem, decide on  a solution and make that solution work.”

Now that’s too generic but how exactly to deal with poor-performance? Poor performance in a workplace is the result of what?

In other words, what are the primary causes of poor-performance at the workplace?

It could be one or more of the following:

  1. Ineffective leadership
  2. Wrong people in the wrong place
  3. Inadequate work-systems and processes
  4. Individual’s incapabilities

Causes-of-poor-performance
(Photo Credit: 1Happysnapper’s Flickr photostream)

Let’s have a look at Four Causes of Poor Performance in little more detail:

1. Ineffective Leadership

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” ~ Lao Tzu

When the team is not performing at its best, it is the leader who is questioned. He has a greater responsibility than everyone else. That is to bring the BEST out of all the team members working with him.

To do that, he has to identify the right resource, ensure his or her availability, make the expectations crystal clear and inspect what he expects. Like it or not, when the team members do not understand the expectations, their leader gets the blame.

So leader has to consciously retrospect each of his actions and be ready to lead from the front. He also has to assure that right kind of organizational culture is built. If the organization culture is like such where it is okay to procrastinate, the team would shape itself accordingly.

Once the leader starts influencing the team, the team will put their best and the overall performance will get better. Easier said than done.

2. Wrong people in the wrong place

People should feel good about the work they are doing but that’s not always the case.

Some people are in the wrong job and don’t do anything about that because they like the privileges of the job. A project manager might be the “CEO” of the project for the organization but has no real interest in actually get the project delivered. Some are stuck in a job they don’t like because they can’t get anything better suited to them. Maybe because of a lack of the skills, or most common, the initiative.

Some people engage in the wrong job just because it is a family business!

Reasons can be millions but the bottom-line is, it should be ensured that the right person is doing the right job. An effective leader ensures that it happens.

3. Work-systems and processes

People don’t often understand their organization type even though they always want to perform at their best. There are two major types of organizations:

1. Organizations where hardcore execution is worshiped
2. Organizations where processes are worshiped

Both types of organizations are right in their own perspectives. Especially many start-ups focus more on execution than processes.

Often it is seen that organization’s website lists “100% customer service” as one of their core values but when an employee leads beyond her title and does something beyond what is stated in the process manual, she hears the music.

Believing in something and doing something else is very common and it must be eliminated if performance improvement is the goal.

Key is to set the expectation right and spell out what kind of behavior is “expected” behavior in the organization. Then architect the reward systems in a way it inspires people to do more of the expected behavior.

4. Individual’s incapabilities

If everything else is right then there is a possibility that the individual is not capable enough to perform as expected. It could be either skill problem (do not have the capabilities) or will problem (do not want to do it).

Skill problems are comparatively easier to deal with. With targeted skill-enhancement programs, mentorship etc. are the tools used to solve the skill problems. This may or may not be affordable to an organization.

Will problems are not so easier to deal with. First of all, it should be found that the “will” problem exists. Once it is there, the core reason for that has to be found. Work culture, family issues, relationships with colleagues…so many foxes to catch.

Once the right problem is discovered, it should be dealt with the best possible way. Extremes such as letting people go because of skill or will problems are also seen often.

Seven Steps to Deal With Poor Performance

  1. Recognize a performance as a “poor” performance.
  2. Ascertain the basis of poor performance.
  3. Get buy-in on the required actions/changes.
  4. Ensure that poor-performer is supported by additional resources, training, coaching, mentoring etc.
  5. Inspect what you expect and provide as much feedback as you can during the evaluation period.
  6. Equip the poor-performer with additional guidance as an when required.
  7. If nothing works, invoke a disciplinary procedure like PIP (performance improvement plan).

The solution to any problem begins with identifying that a problem exists. Once identified, it has to be accepted as a “qualified problem”. Once these things are done, right actions should be your key weapon to deal with that.

So the identification of what causes poor performance is the key. It would enable you to take your management actions effectively. If you have tips or experiences to share about this, you are most welcome to drop a comment below.

Seven Tips To Deal With Rationalization

How would you identify when someone is rationalizing?

Consider a conversation that involves goals and results. In the conversation, if you hear one or more of the following words, know that you’re listening to someone who’s rationalizing. Here they go:

  • I can’t;
  • I’m too frustrated;
  • I don’t have time;
  • My situation is unique;
  • I don’t have the tools and resources to help me;
  • This won’t work because {put any reason here}!

We all do it time to time and mostly in our unaware mode. The key is to be aware of our such behavior and do something about it. Some tips:

  1. Change the lens: Look at the task/matter from different lenses. Ask yourself, “What would be the impact of completing it (or not completing it)?”
  2. Take ownership: Rationalization is a way to get out of owning up something. If you don’t have time, funds and resources it’s not your fault, isn’t it? Wrong. Take ownership and own the situation.
  3. Stay upbeat: Rationalizing means you’re not upbeat about doing something. Look at its positive side or you will never beat rationalization. Stay upbeat.
  4. Unearth the answer: Every question has an answer. For example, even “no answer” is an answer to a question, isn’t it? Ask yourself: Why you can’t? What’s in your way? Why you are frustrated and do something about it. Why don’t you have time? Can you start with just 10 minutes a day? Can you eliminate which is not important to give time to this task? Etc. Find the answer and be the cause; not an effect.
  5. Focus on the goal: Your goal will be your inspiration. The chief “reason” for doing it. Visualize it, affirm it, write it and act upon.
  6. Report it to someone: Find a colleague, a friend or a family member whom you would like to report to. If you have to report it to someone, you will more likely do it.
  7. If you still want to rationalize and you are CLEAR about it do it nonetheless!
Rationalization is an attempt to explain or justify (behavior or an attitude) with logical reasons, even if these are not appropriate. It is wise to stay away from it, isn’t it?