Spontaneous leaders…a HR message

Every individual employee in all corporate constantly adapt and evolve to live/exist continuously in the same corporate ecosystem. The owners of some small organizations often claim that some of their employees have joined as ‘trainee’ several years ago but have now evolved to the level of Director/Vice President etc. The owners refer such examples so loudly only to prove the point that the organization offers equal opportunity to all employees to grow. Interestingly, the entire process of such changes would have taken 20 or more years.

Whereas in MNC’s, people might join at designation on same day with same educational and experience back ground but one or two might evolve fast to the level of vice president in short span of time. What does it mean? The HR might although define such events to be as recognition of talent/capability, the true understanding of the above is virtually lacking with most corporate.

The above two types of evolutions are not unknown to nature. There are two major types of evolutions do occur in nature viz.,

  1. Phyletic gradualism
  2. Cladogenesis

The first one refers to the species in the given population that gradually transforming/evolving over a period of time and reaching to ‘some level of finality’ in the given ecosystem. The best example is ‘trainee’ becoming ‘vice president’ or ‘president’ in the same corporate over 20 years.

The other type of evolution – Cladogenesis is defined as, due to some genetically restricted rare and rapid events branching or splitting the species and transforming them into totally another one. Such changes are not time dependent.

The first type of evolution is most likely to occur in all most all species.

In the same corporate when people continue for over 20 years, naturally they would learn to live in the same corporate for another 20 or more years also. These people knows how to outsmart all talented people who join the organization as the newly joined people always relay mostly on their talents but the ‘age old pre-existing turtles’ (the people who are with the same organization for several years) on their ‘adaptability and cunningness’ within the organization.

Some of these ‘turtle’ people may not contribute much because they have been adapting within the organization as a product and were not the real cause of change.   Therefore, the corporate must look for the second category of people as they can suddenly and spontaneously evolve out as ‘distinguished leaders’.

Question may be raised as why only some people show such evolutionary traits and not all those who have joined the organization on the same day, at same cadre with same educational background and role and responsibility?

The cladogenesis occurs only due to some restricted rare and rapid genetic changes.   It means certain restricted and individual specific changes only make certain people to respond and transform into another.

The corporate has to understand the restricted and rapid changes that can make even an ordinary person to become great leader.   Once such details are understood, ‘breeding’ right kind of leaders is possible.

The senior leaders in corporate should not look for leaders of phyletic gradualism. Such leaders may not contribute much to your corporate.

Transforming the organization to meet the new challenges are only required from leaders and not the trait of getting transformed progressively within the organization for own success and survival. Such adaptations would give only success to the individual employees and not to the organization.

Dr S Ranganathan

ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai

Desire, Dream and Destination – Social Entrepreneur Forum


During salary revision…the HR must learn to decode silence

The HR departments in all most all corporate would assume and may even get convinced of the fact that the increment, salary revision and incentives offered/done to their employees at the end of the financial year has fully satisfied them. The reason they attribute to the above is that the employees after ‘small murmur’ have gone back to their routine work as before.  The HR functions used to make such wild claim only to ‘impress’ the top management that everything is fine and rosy with the corporate and the HR function has smartly, effectively and proactively managed the task of performance appraisal and salary revision.

How true is such claim or assumptions of the HR function? Instead of seeing the truth, the HR function and the top leadership in every corporate would always work hard to create a ‘perception and air’ around that everything is fine with the organization.

If we really want to analyze the merit of such assumption, we have to learn the ‘management’ insights of nature.

The question of did the flowering plants already knew the nectar and edible pollen grains will be liked by different species of pollinating insects and hence would get attracted towards it? Is that the reason the flowering plants in general have evolved with tasty nectar?

Or, the insects have adapted fully to the nectar and pollen grains and hence, as reward, they also do the job of pollination for the plants?

Since the evolution of flowering plants and insects were scientifically believed to have occurred in different times, the above hypothesis needs to be scrutinized differently.

Much before the evolution of pollinating insects, how the flowering plants would have had their pollination done, and who would have done such job for them, accepting the fact that the flowering plants were the first to evolve.   Then, possibly the plants would have had nectar only subsequent to the evolution of insects, in order to attract the insects to do the pollination effectively.

For the insects, perhaps the nectar would have come as ‘freebie’ from flowering plants. When the choice was limited or nil (work hard and find food or just have the nectar which is easily available), naturally the insects would have accepted the freebie. Such acceptance, accommodation and rewarding the flower by doing the job of pollination, all would have occurred only as natural consequence.

But from such initial or primary acceptance, many insects also would have started searching for better and greater opportunities elsewhere with reference to diverse food availability, decreased threat from predators and favorable environment for safe and easy breeding etc. Thus, multiplicities of insects have evolved.

The point to be remembered by the HR function is that never get lost in ‘people’s’ initial acceptance as indicator of what you have offered to your employees are the best.   The initial acceptance need not sustain. People would have accepted it because they did not have much choice. But that does not mean they are happy about what you have offered.

The people might look for better resources/opportunities elsewhere if you offer them less than what they deserve.   Until such time, their involvement in their work also would get smudged.

The point is not about ‘satisfying’ people by meeting the salary/incentive or increment expectations of people exactly as per their wish, but never fool yourself by the fact that if people have accepted what you had offered as sign of what you had offered is the best.

Accepting and believing things without understanding the ‘real’ will be disastrous. The leaders of any aspiring corporate should never fall into such ‘ritual assumptions’.

The HR function and the corporate leaders have to be sensitive to learn not just from the revolt and rebellion of people, but also from their silence. Silence needs not be an act of acceptance but it can be a much stronger protest or rejection or disagreement.    

Dear corporate, please learn to understand your people from their silence also. Learn from nature to enhance your management wisdom.

Dr S Ranganathan, ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai

Desire, Dream and Destination – Social Entrepreneur Forum


Game of chess in corporate…a leadership message

Most corporate bosses would always try to evolve different strategies and equations to deal different people and balance the equilibrium of the corporate ecosystem. All they know is only to balance and maintain the equilibrium. But the big question is whether these leaders have clearly understood the true definition and the consequence of the term ‘equilibrium’?

The true definition of the term equilibrium is nothing but the state of balance where neither one receives anything from others nor would offers anything to others. People and objects are always tries to attain ‘inert’ state in order to not to get influenced or influence others and that is only called ‘state of equilibrium’.

Now the question is whether the efforts to corporate leaders to create equilibrium state will ever help the growth of the organization. Learning and gaining knowledge of people come both from sharing of ones knowledge to others and also from others experiences.

The concept of ‘equilibrium’ will never support diversity and evolution. In simple sense, leaders never want the restlessness, rebellions, talents, expectations etc., of people to be visible and all of them must behave in uniform manner. Only when people question the state of equilibrium, newness would emerge.

The corporate can easily differentiate great and average leaders by looking at what type of people they prefer and promote in the organization. If the leader prefer very meek, subdued, less talented people and look for loyalty over talent and capability, such people are really average leaders. If the organization is run by such average leaders, they are likely to cause only frustrations, fear, anger and fight among people. Average leaders always demand people to give importance to them. Due to above confusion caused by them, they always work hard to achieve the state of ‘equilibrium’.

On the other hand, great leaders always look for quality, content and capability than just ‘loyalty’. They never bother about achieving equilibrium state and instead they try to avoid conflicts at work place. They welcome imbalances so that different people will explore their different and diverse talents. Such dispensation would greatly help the learning process of people, group discussions and team spirit. Such leaders give importance to ‘great ideas’, ‘knowledge’, and ‘innovations’ than own self importance and identity.

Unfortunately, many owners of small organizations play game of chess with own people.   They use own people instead of doing great work to the organization use them to team up against others.   Such leaders always complain about their own employees, express dissatisfaction over them and are bit disgruntled.

Remember, if you are running after ‘equilibrium’ it is tyranny you are going to create. Nature has created cybernetic approach without affecting diversity, evolution, newness and success. Support diversity and not a stable ‘physical or chemical’ state of people in corporate.   Biology indeed needs challenges and adversity than uniformity.   The tool to manage conflicts, leaders should never employ the concept of equilibrium.

Dr S Ranganathan

ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai

Desire, Dream and Destination – Social Entrepreneur Forum


Leadership instinct of Palm nut vulture…a HR message

Concede to the reality would never alter ones personality, identity or leadership quality or definition is the loudest management message the Palm nut vulture conveys to the corporate world. All vultures in general are either scavengers or bird of prey, collectively called as raptors.   In other sense, vultures are endemic non vegetarians predominantly scavenge the dead animals. Contrary to the food habits of all vultures so far known, the Palm nut vultures are predominantly vegetarians, eating nuts and fruits of oil palms and Raphia.

It lives near water body where oil palm trees are grown abundantly. The Palm nut vultures are known to be sedentary during fruiting season as they have plenty of food to eat. They do eat fish, crab and some small mammals.

The question is why the appearance, majestic gesture and fearsome look of Palm nut vulture has not changed despite its vegetarianism, which is quite unknown among raptors.

If we change our actions or style of doing things due to some prevailing situational reasons and we continue to do the same, it need not affect the identity, personality or leadership style of ‘true leaders’. The Palm nut vulture take advantage of the abundant oil palm and Raphia fruits during certain seasons by shifting to vegetarian diet.   Such shift it does only for its success and not just for survival. Such behaviour is extremely rare among raptors. But still the bird retains its identity as bird of prey.

Changing ones instinctive behaviour need not be treated as loosing ones identity. Only when one succumb to pressure or favour and change ones behaviour and without sinking with the reality and or without taking advantage, only then one is likely to loose ones identity, character and leadership quality.

Being rigid is not wise. Being flexible is also equally not wise. One must understand the reality and must go in consonance with the reality to maximize the profit and minimize the threat or loss. The palm nut vultures have understood perfectly the above principle of management and that is how they still remain as raptors irrespective of their vegetarian diet preference.

Success and advantage and not risk or exploitation one should see in dealing situations. One should not get caught in the definition of rigidity or flexibility but success, overall welfare and advantage should be the basic instinct. This management principle only nature sends to the corporate through its creation of palm nut vulture.

Be open to newer opportunities and vistas. Accepting a new opportunity will not make you an ‘opportunist’ or being ‘characterless’ and such style will not also deem you of the status of a firm leader. One should consider and account only the overall welfare and success. Actions should be welfare centric and not to protect or retain certain ‘identities’ or ‘definitions’.

Dr S Ranganathan, ClinRise Derma Pvt., Lt.d., Chennai

Dream, Desire and Destination – Social Entrepreneur Forum