Thursday, May 28, 2020

IRIS Story 18) Smart, intelligent woman corporate trainers facing challenges at the workplace. What they do not teach at Ivy League business school

(Important lessons to be learned, most commented blog by women networked with me at LinkedIn, Must read complete till end)

Issue/Concern of director
Participants not taking these women trainers seriously and resorting to casual attitude towards learning

Five smart intelligent young women, pass out from top business school were hired as corporate trainers to train new joinee MBA students in sales function at leading multi-brand luxury clothing retail company. These women trainers were indeed brilliant, subject matter expert, well qualified, had studied well what they were supposed to teach during trainer’s boot camp. All of them had scored high in all aspects of knowledge, training delivery, platform skills, and adherence to the certification process.

After undergoing the final stage; sit thru and joint sessions with senior trainers, these women started to deliver training sessions. They were asked to rate participants and give detailed feedback about the current batch of management trainees under induction. They began complaining about the participant’s attitudes, their non-serious approach. 

Participants coming late after lunch and doing a vanishing act post-lunch session. They were not paying attention, spending excessive time out of the classroom, taking long breaks in the washroom. They called the entire batch as a bunch of non-serious people, in other words, they questioned the hiring quality and competency of team HR and entire organization.

The director, a firm believer in gender diversity inclusion actively encouraged more women to be hired as corporate trainers. His well-intentioned desire to imbibe positive cultural change in the workforce, seems like it was falling apart. Our team at Eagles Learning was hired as a consultant to give a solution and fix the problem on priority.

The first thing we did was, establish accountability of trainers on knowledge and behavioural aspects. We made it a mandatory practice to take participant’s feedback every day on various parameters about the trainer, training content, behaviour, facilities on five-point scale; objective and subjective as well. The comprehensive feedback form was designed after taking inputs from all key stakeholders at senior management. Process ownership and responsibility was given to the training administrator. His job was also to ensure integrity, collation, preparation of the summary of feedback and its implementation to the true spirit of corporate ethics. As a consultant it is important we support and substantiate our findings with facts and figures

All trainers were briefed about the training feedback format and the importance of its implementation. After the trainer explains the feedback score, they move outside the classroom, the filled form is submitted directly to the administrator. Somehow this had an overnight magical effect on the performance of trainers on all aspects.

Our team interviewed all participants to take feedback of trainers, what went well, what they liked what more they expected and areas of improvement about entire training process. All participants-MBA students were glad and excited to start a new career to be part of this company.

Important: Must Read

Almost all were offended by these smart, intelligent, and knowledgeable women trainers from very well to do families, they were rubbing them the wrong way. None of the trainers introduced them-self as expected by participants. Whenever they used to ask any question or seek clarification they were snubbed as why didn't you know this about luxury retail. You should have known this, how will you handle if customer ask this question. They were made to feel unworthy lowly, like if they have committed a sin seeking clarification. 

Participants were absolutely correct in commenting; it’s our learning time and if we do not ask now, when do we ask. For participants persistently seeking clarification to their doubts, few trainers had spoken inappropriately about their family background (earmarking the individual participant) and scolded them publicly in the class within audible range of entire students.

These trainers used to carry an attitude of superiority, walk inside the classroom with a book in their hand, not making eye contact, no smile, not responding to students wishing and greeting them at car parking and at the office. Students were no way feeling emotionally connected with their trainer.

Few women trainers used to wear expensive deep cut western dresses or tight body hugging dress, thereby revealing too much of their feminism, nothing bad in their attire from their viewpoint, because they were wearing the product as sold by this company. In the opinion of senior women consultant with our team, this dress code was no way inspiring respect that the training profession is entitled to.

OMG- How do we pull back out of this mess

Many participants had lost all respect for these trainers and few challenged these trainers to do better sales work and compete with them by standing at the shop floor. As per them these trainers were rubbish, a joke. These trainers have absolutely no experience with luxury retailing, what customer care is all about and they are treating us like kids. This smart and intelligent new generation, MBA grads, many having lateral experience told they might decide, not to continue with this organisation and leave after induction.

This situation was alarming because induction training is the first moment of truth for new people joining. It has the potential to create amazing positive spirals and vibes: make people think they have taken the right decision; they are doing the best thing for their career.

We were called too late and we were happy that the client considered us worthy of setting things right at short notice.

Eagles Learning Team’s Decision/Intervention

A) Without wasting any further time, we mobilized best of our resources to set things in order.

B)   We did train the trainer for all the ten trainers of this team for behavioural (soft skills) and platform skills.

C)   We clearly conveyed the dress code and its strict adherence. Tight body-hugging western dress, deep cut tops were a strict no because being a trainer is a privilege and an honour. We want trainers to be looked upon as a seasoned person.

D)   No trainer will walk into the classroom with and management theory book; we are corporate trainers and not a professor. Our walking, body movement must be slow, measured and dignified

E)   Trainers will create eye contact, smile and greet students proactively. They will become better listener and EOD they wil submit PTR about questions asked by participants and how they handled the same.

F)    We explained all about adult learning principles and secrets of how to engage the participants, recap the learnings, create activities, build excitement in learning to avoid boredom and learning fatique.

G)   Syndicate exercise and peer review how trainer should give introduction was done

H)   Director to introduce trainer, building the credibility of process and trainer is important

I)     Outside the class notice board, a brief profile of trainer was posted under the heading; know your trainer to reinforce the trainer’s credibility.

Three out of these five smart intelligent women trainer decided to quit after TTT stating that they have no dearth of opportunities. To our astonishment these three women were well known to this director, one was the daughter of his best friend, all three were related some way or the other. This was an embarrassing moment for all of us. We thanked the director for trusting us with this amazing opportunity. We congratulated him on his gender diversity initiatives and moved on to the next assignment for another client.

A) Do we really understand, what gender diversity inclusion is?
B) Is the above approach benefitting or harming this cause?
C) Is induction training a mere formality/experiment ground?
D) Why excessive cost cutting, why hire low priced trainer and oblige friends? 

We maintain good relations with everyone, after a gap of four year, this director invited Eagles Learning team again to work with them. We clearly conveyed him we have senior women (40% women) in our team and we are there for long time projects, year long engagement projects.

IRIS 17) Senior manager at top leading Japanese MNC, what different he did after 5 year to become a father (must read complete till the end)

Issue/Concern of senior manager at leading Japanese MNC
A deep desire to become father, however, the spouse is always nagging and she had to be rushed to the hospital for imaginary, non-existent disease.

This leading top Japanese MNC is indeed top paying client of our company Eagles Learning as well, our average per day billing amount to them is 60K-1.1 Lac

Mohit, is working as a senior manager, his performance is noteworthy and he has been promoted thrice over a period of 5 years. He is an intelligent, honest, ethical, hard-working, handsome, and soft natured person. The best thing I respect him for is, publicly he used to announce all payments within 90 days as per purchase order terms and conditions, however, our payments were released within 21-30 days. (Out of deep respect and liking for him, I nicknamed him Apple; because he loved Apples, he used Apple, his face was like an Apple and my favourite fruit is also Apple)

On one fine Wednesday, I was scheduled to meet him at 5 P.M. (time and day were decided, well in advance); however, at the last moment at 4.30 P.M, he cancelled the meeting and rescheduled if for next week. This time at the designated time, he was not at his office; no one knew where he is. He was not responding to SMS and telephone calls of his entire team and me as well.

I did the unthinkable, never ever I have done this with anyone, and I called him four times within a span of one hour. Before I could apologise for my mistake, he said everything is ok and fine with him, just a routine check-up of his the spouse at Medanta, let’s connect at 8.30 PM.

We connected at 8.30 PM; I told him no business discussions and enquired about his spouse health. He had to take his wife to the doctor for an emergency medical test, her all parameters were ok, and his spouse is young with no pre-existing disease with her or any other family member. He mentioned she is just a little anxious because she recently lost her job. I suggested do whatever she wants to be done at this moment, spend dedicated quality time with her, watch a movie , and will connect tomorrow. Perhaps I would be having something interesting for both of them.

We spoke again the next day at length, enquired about his spouse's health, and suggested email me her CV and must tell me in detail about what she enjoys doing the most, her hobbies. Her CV was no way reflecting her strengths; connecting with her hobbies, we polished her CV. I invoked the God’s blessing and shared it confidentially with two of my best friends with clear instructions; prove your mettle, if you are a true friend, create an opportunity for her in creative/design department at any organization at Gurgaon within the next 48 hours. As per God’s desire, nothing happened for next 4 days and on the fifth day they arranged her first interview call with upcoming stationery division at leading MNC. She made it and cleared all rounds. (Lesson learned:  nothing happens without surrendering to higher powers)

Now, it was the right time to congratulate him and enjoy a cup of tea at Mohit’s office, somehow as per God’s desire we could only meet after two months. Mohit expressed immense gratitude because his spouse is happier, she is able to express her creative side, she designs covers and jackets for children note books and stationery.

He desired complete privacy during our meeting at his office, our team patiently waited in the cafeteria for more than two hours. In highly confidential one to one meeting, we discussed only his family issues; (Must Read Carefully)

     1) His wife is happier, she enjoys her work and stopped nagging; however he is sick of his mother’s nagging, His mother recently retired as a school principal. He asked me, whether all women are like this only?

2)    He was upset, once he clearly told his mother to stop nagging and complaining about others, He told (scolded) her, he doubted if the mother really prays and worships God with faith and devotion or cook food properly with dedication. Why she is always thinking of insignificant distant relatives and their stupid issues which no way concern them, everything trivial is being discussed by her. She should be more concerned about the welfare of herself and her immediate family with whom she stays. Thereafter he was branded as insensitive by all women (sister, mother, and spouse) of his family. He was not able to understand what wrong he had spoken?

3)    When he reaches home, he is mentally exhausted, all energies drained, why the heck on earth, ladies at home want him to talk and expect him to share about his day, office gossip. Why can’t they just leave him alone, allow him silent time, and mind their own business?

4)    He earns well, excellent relations with his spouse, has family support, why he is not able to become a father after 5 years, he is sick of taunts by his relatives?

5)    This was the beginning of lengthy discussion which further strengthened our relationship.

6)    My suggestion no 1: Mother is Mother, Chairman of the household corporation, Spouse is CEO (Chief executive/execution officer and sometimes Chief Enthusiasm officer also) of Household corporation and sister is the auditor, she is omnipresent and will always catch you and prove wrong (as per other women’s perception) even if you think you are right. She can/will also prove you right when she thinks she is right whether you think, you are right or wrong. Now he is confused, he asked me to simplify. I told him, when I reach home, I only listen and get some surprise for my kid. You should only listen, enjoy a glass of water/Juice, no action-reaction, just empathetic listening.

7)    Suggestion no 2: A successful man must play four roles to his spouse in order of priority.

·         Be like a father

·         Be like a mother

·         Be like a friend

·         At the end, be like a Husband

They must develop rituals for important things in life and I shared the same as done by other happy people

·         How will you give quality time to a spouse (define it)

·         Morning waking up

·         Leaving for office

·         During office

·         When they reach home

·         Evening togetherness, hugging, cuddling, romance

·         Making love, what men call sex, women call love

·         Massage her everywhere & wherever she likes; slowly, passionately

·         Enjoy your car drive and eat mindfully

8)    Many couples are not able to relax and perform passionate love due to daily stress and pollution at NCR, he must go on an extended holiday to his home town in the hills.

9)    He followed most of what I suggested and became a happy father within a year. Now he is at a senior position in the Middle East. They would be having a second child shortly.

10) About business, we used to do that telephonically. We will shortly initiate business at the Middle East as well

Life is all about relations.
Relations first, If you take a genuine interest in another person and he trusts you, the business will flow automatically

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Eight IRIS Leadership Secrets for men to ponder upon to earn respect from the opposite gender

Eight IRIS Leadership Secrets for men to ponder upon to earn respect from the opposite gender

1)   Same words have a different meaning for men and women (eg: Yes, No, Ok, Perhaps, I Hate You, Good, Interesting, like an idiot)
2)   The difference in interpretations is due to brain wiring
3)   Treating men and women same way can sometimes be insulting to women
4)   Men need to appreciate and understand corporate work culture has been evolved and perfected over ages by men, which is too masculine. Treating and speaking in the same style to a woman as we do with men is not correct and can be interpreted as harassment
5)   Take help of other women while giving feedback to women
6)   Being a good listener is important, micro-managing, and telling women how to accomplish results can be insult
7)   It is advisable that men should use metaphors (third person approach) while giving one to one feedback. Sharing stories; how other women achieved success in their career/life to solve a similar problem will yield the desired outcome
8)   The best way to cultivate these habits is to practice at home. Listen, observe and take feedback of our behaviour from spouse


IRIS True Story 10) High performing energetic young CEO, IIT, IIM tried to change his style of giving feedback to women

Rare... true story

Issue/Concern of head HR
Women not willing to work in top performers team

Suresh has studied in a top engineering college and prestigious business school (IIT, IIM). He is on a fast track career growth path, his qualification and credentials are impeccable, his knowledge and resolution to the challenging situations have earned him immense respect. He is consistent in his approach and a firm believer in creating gender-neutral workplace. He has immense respect for all women, he usually encourages them to take challenging assignments in the company and often suggests HR to hire more women.

The best thing about him which has earned him respect from young women is his in-principle approval for relocation after marriage. He networks actively with his peer group and try his best to scout for and create internal vacancies at other locations and other departments as well.

However challenges came after he gave feedback to women during annual appraisal for performance pay and development potential. An increasing number of women and men began to quit, no 1 reason for resignation given by them was, quitting due to family commitments. A woman, who was actively mentored by Suresh as an aspiring candidate for the senior global position, suddenly quit. This set alarm bells ringing, obviously, there was something which was not normal. All the women and men who quit never said anything against him, no women wanted to jeopardize their future career prospects after appraisal.

We were hired to investigate the reason and suggest remedial action. We interviewed all the women and few men who resigned and our findings were;

Eagles Learning internal confidential document of the findings
a)    Few women joined a competitor and few were in the process of accepting employment offer with other companies. Two high performing women, potential to be at senior leadership position and global assignments decided to become full time entrepreneur.
b)    Almost all of them were of the opinion; his way of giving feedback and conducting performance appraisal is devaluing the way they think and work to achieve results. He is too imposing about his thinking; working style and micro managing everything. His interpretation of dedication, loyalty, reporting and decision making is something which is unacceptable, not humanely possible and unheard of at other companies.

c)    CENSORED: We are revealing this for the first time: Few comments which alarmed our team were, he was called a smooth talker, a beast, a wolf, a master manipulator, energy sucker under sheep’s clothing, a person having scant regard for family values/commitments, personal life and respect for unforeseen situations of his team members at home. Women were offended to the extreme about his style of giving feedback.

d)    Our submission: Confidential report and recommendation to the board;
1)    He is indeed a good person, exceptionally intelligent, technically knowledgeable who is an asset, we need him for specialised high stake and time-bound critical projects.
2)    He need to learn the basics of people engagement, earning the respect of people from heart is much desired in his behaviour.
3)    He must attend mandatory gender sensitization workshop. Hire a senior woman coach to guide him about these aspects.
4)  He must attend mandatory outbound team building workshop, where expert psychologist besides our expert facilitators at Eagles Learning understand and interpret his behaviour. Let participants; his team give him candid feedback about his leadership style. He needs to be carefully monitored about his acceptance of not so pleasant feedback and his genuine desire to implement improvements in his behaviour.
5)    Implement on priority, damage control intervention, reduce his span of control, number of divisions, and people reporting to him. Not retaining talent can result in a serious leadership crisis.
6)    Prepare and activate his back up; identify, groom, train his successor high on people engagement skills
7)    What if he quits? On a war footing, emergency response, prepare a strategy for his sudden exit
8)    Expert psychologist and graphologist monitor his undesirable traits and work on coaching him. We need to continuously monitor his acceptance of feedback given by experts and his commitment towards himself.
9)    Revamp current and establish a new processes for all new promotions and leadership hiring. Evaluation by graphologist, psychologist and outbound experiential activity assessment by experts from our team. Eagles Learning team will have one senior lady assessor-psychologist to evaluate on gender inclusion orientation and other traits of a person.
10) As far as possible, preferably groom internal person to take on future leadership positions.

Within one year

We earned trust of the board and this high performing energetic young CEO for our authentic feedback. This is rare; because usually, everyone listens to only good things. I have immense respect for this humble person.

We did our best to imbibe desired behaviour in Suresh, we became good friends, we got his handwriting, signature and other behavioural traits analysed, we highlighted all his strengths and strong points once again and finally after one year we decided we are not heading anywhere and suggested him, few things people learn only when they season with age. At the moment he is best working with small teams. Future is promising with immense possibilities and opportunities for all of us.   

He refused to accept, believe and act upon the below-mentioned points, we tried to convince him;

Eight IRIS Leadership Secrets for men to ponder upon to earn respect from the opposite gender 

1) Same words have a different meaning for men and women (eg: Yes, No, Ok, Perhaps, I Hate You, Good, Interesting, like an idiot) 

2) The difference in interpretations is due to brain wiring 

3) Treating men and women the same way can sometimes be insulting to women 

4) Men need to appreciate and understand corporate work culture has been evolved and perfected over Ages by men, which is too masculine. Treating and speaking in the same style to a woman as we do with men is not correct and can be constituted as harassment 

5) It is always better to take help of other women while giving feedback to women 

6) Being a good listener is important, micro-managing, and telling women how to work to achieve the result (like a man) can be interpreted as an insult. 

7) It is advisable that men should use metaphors (third person approach) while giving one to one feedback to women. Telling stories about how other women have achieved success in their career/life to solve a similar problem will yield the desired outcome. 

8) The best way to cultivate these habits is to practice these at home. Listen, observe and take feedback about our behaviour from spouse 
 IRIS PrabhjotSinghSoodLeadershipSecrets

He did something good for himself, he realised his natural style is such that he prefers to work with small teams and specialised projects for a limited time period only. He loves to work with only those who fully endorse, agree with his thoughts and style of working. He exited gracefully and became a serial entrepreneur and funded few startups. He is doing well, he has a happy family, father of two kids, and we often meet and exchange pleasantries. God bless him all the happiness, he realised what he is good at.
I am happy because we always kept Suresh in high self-esteem and also feel sad, in spite of best of our efforts we couldn't make him realise/appreciate, God has created Woman and Man differently, to complement each other. Both genders are not alike. Better acceptability of diversity is important, if we have to grow.

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