Heera Training and Management Consultancy

eNewsletter December 2011

Dear Everyone,

Hi! And how are you all? It has been a great month in November. I spent two great weeks in Brunei conducting training for some very, very enthusiastic and wonderful participants. I have also been very pleased with the form of Arsenal currently as they have won twelve out of the last fourteen games played. I really, really do hope Robin Van Persie does not get injured!!! I am also following the X factor and I must say Josh Krajcik is simply brilliant! But the best news has been the launch of my second book and it going up to number six on the International Best Seller List. That was the cream on the cake.

Actors and Actresses in Organizations

This month I want to write about a phenomenon that exists in all organizations i.e. actors and actresses. These are the employees who think that showing up and looking busy is their version of work. They are the ones who are really not busy, but are great at ‘acting busy’.

Some of the ways in which these employees go about their business of ‘acting busy’ are as follows:

a. They are always carrying files or laptops everywhere they go (files and laptops are always a great symbol of work), even to the canteen!
b. They are always walking fast from point to point creating this perception that they are in a ‘hurry’, and hence ‘busy’.
c. They leave office late every day, giving the impression that they are hard working and have a lot to do. Anyone who works late hours constantly will also sooner or later start to produce poor quality work.
d. They constantly sigh and tell their workmates about how busy they are. This is subtle marketing; the more times you tell someone about how busy you are, the more they start to believe in you.
e. When they really have work, they make sure the whole organization knows about it by sending e-mails of progress reports which are cc to everyone in the organization.

The trouble with all of this is that many times, these people get away with it, as organizations usually reward the people who punch in early and punch out late. This fact is compounded by the fact that many managers assume the busiest people who work endless hours are the best workers and tend to reward them for busy behavior instead of effective results.

The solution to this dilemma is to reward people for achieving specific, measurable goals rather than for just showing up for work and looking busy. Reward acting and you get actors. Reward results and you get results. Some possible ways of managing these situations are as follows:

1. Set goals and objectives for employees, and judge them by the results. In this way, results will always take precedence over behavior.
2. Make sure you have the right person for the job. People who lack either the ability or the training for a job will waste enormous amounts of time and energy trying to do what they simply cannot do. Recruit a squirrel for tree climbing tasks and ducks for swimming tasks.
3. Do not create an organizational culture where working late is the norm: Otherwise, even when people do not have work, they stay in late because ‘that is the way, we do things here’. Generation X employees hate this aspect of organizational culture.
4. Review the job description of each worker on an annual basis. When company strategy changes or when new technology is adopted, this will have an influence on people’s work.

Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter. Till my January newsletter, do take care and do have a great month ahead in December

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Heera Singh
Principal Consultant
HEERA Training and Management Consultancy
HP 0126083708