Cross Posted from my Personal Blog
I managed to get through high school and college never taking a second language, even in the ’80s this required advanced maneuvers through the academic handbook. Why would I do this? Was I against taking a language?
Nope. I desperately wanted to take a language, but I lacked confidence.
The only language offered in my high school was Spanish, and I wanted to take French or Japanese (it was the ’80s).
Later, when I went off to college, my 17 year old scholarship self, decided I would be unable to keep my required GPA taking a language, given I was already four years behind.
Recursive logic indeed, especially when you factor in the fact that I had an above average memory and a crazy serious work ethic [seriously, I was so much older then…]. Looking back on this with the benefit of hindsight, I can say confidently, that the odds of me not being able to handle the rigor of a 101 language course was exactly 0.
So when I read that women have a confidence gap, looking for perfection in themselves before putting their hands up for consideration for professional opportunity, I recognize we need to take this seriously. Especially when we look at the incredibly slow pace of progress for women in senior leadership in the west (in retrospect maybe I was onto something by not taking Japanese).
So what to do?
I think it comes down to recognizing the need to have a strategy for being confident. Being angry at men for being better at this than women, completely misses the point.
Confidence is a critical skill for professional success. Odds are you could be better.
Work on it.
Some useful suggestions
- Get your body and your mind helping you by improving your inner monologue and Power Posing
- Get someone with perspective to help you compare your qualifications more objectively
- Do a better job recognizing that the fact that you are skeptical of your own qualification, is a sign of your competence
Don’t let a lack of confidence get in the way of your success, practice more, work harder, figure it out.
You can do this!
Is your data science providing you enough indications that challenge your existing compensation strategy? Does it reveal that the art of compensation distribution performed by your managers is not in accordance with your compensation strategy? Old habits die-hard, so you need to make sure that your plan for data-driven decision-making is not getting overridden by compensation managers’ belief system and they are not ignoring data science recommendations.
Effectively distributing compensation using limited budget in your disposal is always challenging. Your strategy can be to give performers much higher increases than rest of the people as it may still result in improved engagement and retention as concluded by some research results.
Your compensation system should empower you with actionable insights by providing sharper data analysis on some of the critical decision points like performance, potential, risk and social score of your employees. Performance analysis primarily depends on internal data, potential and risk analysis depend on internal as well as external data and social analysis (how person is perceived or represents company outside workplace) mainly depends on external data. While internal data remains structured, external data (e.g. tweets, social media, blogs etc) combines both unstructured and semi-structured data. Your data scientists need to extract insights and value by combining these internal and external data sources to generate a real value for your business and to datafy your compensation process.
By unlocking the true value of your data, effective data analysis provides you unambiguous decision points. As a result, you may even automate compensation distribution process in cases where you are not looking for any diversion from your planned strategy and where there is no scope for your compensation managers to add value in the process.
In a nutshell, you have to leverage your employee data, available inside and outside your organization’s firewall, to enhance data-fueled decision making as it will surely result in improved business performance and will also help you to attract and retain best talent.
Tagged: compensation strategy, compensation system, data analysis
A commonly heard complaint: “My manager is a control-freak and practice micro-management. He asks for suggestions but provide them all himself. He doesn’t believe in imperfection and try to fit us into his unrealistic expectations.”
Perceiver believes that it is the reality but he might be just focusing on the aspects which reinforce his existing beliefs. Your friends, co-workers or the society don’t know “a real you” but “they know you as they perceive you” as they always have perception about you. But when most of the decision makers in an organization shares the same perception about someone than it doesn’t really matter what “reality is” as “perception becomes the reality”.
It’s hard for an organization to get required contribution from an individual who is not able to accomplish his own goals within organization and in order to achieve your purpose you need to know that how people perceive you. Any undesired perception about you, your products or services will not go away if you deny its existence.
It‘s not possible for you to communicate with each perceiver to explain who you really are, in case you are not happy about it. But before you make any effort to change perception, you need to understand three critical factors which contribute to perception formation process. And they are:
- Your performance: How you perform in a given context contributes majorly towards perception about you. Initial performance is a foundation stone in this process and often takes a lot of effort to change, in case you want to change it later, for better.
- Your competitor’s performance: Comparison and competition are unavoidable and if you are afraid of them, then you really fear your own incompetence. You need to know what your competitor’s are doing before they walk over you.
- Perceivers’ viewpoint: You are dealing with humans and they are prone to mistakes and prejudices. It can go in your favor or against you. These people can be your customers, key influencers in your organization or anyone who is a stakeholder in your current or future endeavors.
You may want to manage one or more of these factors depending on your power of influence but at minimal you should always be in a position to improve your own performance.
If you don’t want to be defined by what you are not, if you want to feed your opportunities and starve your problems; you need to take charge to change perception about you and the time is now. But what if you have already tried your best and are fully convinced that perception about you is unchangeable? You are neither the first nor the last person to feel it, recharge your batteries and hit the trail again. New jobs are waiting to be done, new teams are waiting to be led and new ideas are waiting to be born…
Photo Credit: Unknown
Tagged: perception, performance
Ever changing labor market conditions and supply demand fluctuations make sure that organizations don’t design employee compensation strategy in a vacuum. Success of your compensation strategy not only depends on your system’s ability to provide market data analysis during decision-making but also on how well you analyze the external data during your planning phase.
You start this exercise by deciding on the source of market data as per your industry benchmarks. Relying on multiple survey sources for market salary data will be more beneficial than depending on a single source. In case you opt for multiple sources, you need to decide on mathematical techniques you are going to use to combine multiple sources into an easily comparable source to make comparison with the internal data a smooth exercise.
Getting your current job descriptions updated into your internal system is a must have requirement before you proceed any further. While analyzing the survey data, you need to make sure that you are matching your detailed job description with benchmark job descriptions as matching just a job title or a brief summary can result in wastage of money, time and resources. You also need to have a plan in place for the cases where you don’t find job match in benchmark data.
How you utilize survey results after your internal analysis depends on your current or desired market position. Either you can decide to pay as per market dynamics or you can decide to lead the market. It’s very unlikely that you will decide to pay below market standards after putting so much effort in analysis. You can also opt for total compensation offerings to match or lead the market rather than focusing only on base pay.
It’s easier said than done, you need real experts for a detailed market data analysis internally as software in place will not help if you fail to analyze the data correctly.
Tagged: Market Data
Organizations put a lot of efforts in choosing the people who can award compensation to their workforce. They may even decide to have a different set of people for different type of compensations awards (i.e. Salary allocation or Stock Grant) as per their business needs. But the question is after giving compensation allocation responsibility and various tools to make informed decisions to these people; do you seek their feedback on compensation allocation process in a planned manner?
- Help you to overcome any shortcomings in your existing compensation policy.
- Help you to understand good and not-so-good things about the tools provided for compensation planning.
- Help you to discover how determined your decision makers are to voice their opinion for betterment of your compensation policy.
Every compensation round has a theme or a predefined objective that needs to be fulfilled and it varies with the type of compensation you are dealing with. It’s best to collect feedback and keep it associated with specific compensation round. This association will not only help you to closely analyze context specific feedback but also to take the corrective actions. In case you need collective and only one set of feedback you can always combine compensation round specific feedback into one.
You should decide on feedback questionnaire if you are planning to collect specific feedback and can request people to rate things you want to be rated. However, it will be good to provide some free hand where feedback provider can share feedback not related to questionnaire.
Finally, you need to analyze the collected feedback; work on to resolve the highlighted problems (if possible) and follow-up with feedback providers (if required). Publishing corrective actions or changes incorporated as a result of this exercise will convey that you value feedback and will motivate people to participate in future. You can expect some real value addition to your compensation strategy by this exercise as you will be working with the people important to your business and compensation process.
It struck me as I was talking to a dynamite woman, who has chosen to work part-time. She was looking for something that would be challenging and engaging, but not critical enough that deadlines loomed large on her. She was struggling to find it.
Truth? It does not exist.
If it is not critical, if it is not showstopper important, if things will chug along just fine without it, … it is probably not engaging enough for someone of her capability and intellect.
What she needs is something engaging, something important, something critical – just in smaller chunks.
We are no longer paid for our time – we are paid for outcomes, and if our outcome is not important, it really does not matter how long or little we worked.
When you go part-time, lean in.
The global workforce is loaded with concealed talent, resulting in lost value and opportunities for both business and workers.
Why is talent concealed? Two things really:
- We only see what we are looking for.
- We aren’t using reputation effectively.
The first causes the problem. The second is why it hasn’t been solved.
Concealed talent brings no reputation. – Desiderius Erasmus 1466/7/9?-1536
Who knew that a famous Renaissance humanist had such insight into two important 21st century concepts: talent and reputation?The dirty lens of requirements
We can spend a lot of time coming up with job requirements and descriptions that don’t perform either function very well. Worse yet, they cause us to look at people in those roles solely through the lens of those requirements.
Anything else they might be able to add value with is ignored or overlooked most of the time, leading to lost value for the business and lost opportunity for the employee. This other talent is concealed.“I’m an excellent driver.” – Rain Man
So what’s the answer? How do we make sure we know what concealed talent they have?
Is it self-identified skills? That’s a start, but it comes with its own set of problems, e.g. the “Lake Wobegon Syndrome” where everyone is above average.
Is it endorsements? That’s slightly better in that at least it’s someone else (we hope) saying you are good at something. Recent experience on a certain professional social networking service has led many to conclude that it’s a bit devalued.
What is it that’s missing from endorsements? It’s the validity of the endorsement.Says who?
The answer is reputation. Sounds simple. But you have to do it right.
Your reputation is built on the perceptions of a wide array of perspectives of people who have worked with you, experienced your work, or heard about it from others. That’s both good and bad because sometimes reputation can be very different from reality.
The trick is to find out whose perspectives and which perceptions lead to more valid endorsements of talent. For instance, it doesn’t count so much if your 24-hour fitness instructor endorses your carbon fiber-based fuselage design skills, but maybe it’s someone well-respected in carbon fiber-based fuselage design (or perhaps just design around carbon-fiber materials or fuselages in general) who does. And your instructor might be better suited to endorse your self-discipline and ability to stay focused on goals.
In other words, those whose reputation is strong in an area are likely to be a more valid judge of talent in that area. So use that. It’s the gift that keeps giving, because those who get high marks by valid judges are themselves likely to be valid judges of others. Furthermore, reputation backlash can put some restraint on gratuitous endorsements. This isn’t earth-shattering news, but it’s not being used enough.If only we knew what we know…
“If only HP knew what HP knows, we would be three-times more productive.” – Lew Platt
Find out what your company knows. Use reputation as a tool to discover the concealed talent in your workforce.
Picture from Wikimedia Commons.
It’s about an endeavor undertaken by our team of four people to raise funds for charity and to walk 100KM within 48 hours to meet the challenge set by Oxfam Trailwalker. This post highlights our journey, the outcome and re-emphasizes some well-known facts.
We started with goal setting; success was the obvious goal so success criteria were defined at the start in consultation with all stakeholders. Key Success Indicators (KSIs) were to raise funds to qualify for the event (i.e. 50K INR) and to complete 100KM walk within 48 hours with all four members. We did identify stretch goals at the initiation phase itself and those were to raise funds of 150K+ INR for charity and to complete 100KM walk within 40 hours with all four members.
Planning for the event went through a progressive elaboration process. As a team, we had to cross nine check points to register the entry and exit of the full team. Being a team building exercise, it was required that the team of four, walk together, supporting each other, fastest member walking with the slowest member of the team and completing the event as a team. As activities (aka check points) were already identified and sequenced, we had estimated duration for each activity to develop time management schedule in accordance with our team goal.
Communication among team members was planned thoroughly. Similarly, we planned how to communicate with stakeholders (family members, well-wishers, friends who donated for the cause etc) before and during the event. We performed SWOT analysis for the risks and prepared risk response strategy accordingly. We planned and conducted procurement as per the team needs for the event.
Finally on the D-Day, we first timers were at the event venue with almost a month of preparation. We started almost 10 minutes late from the starting point for 100KM walk of energy, determination and courage. We arrived at finish point exactly 39 hours and 38 seconds after the event starting time. It might not be an exceptional achievement from an outsider’s point of view but as our team could achieve predefined KSIs; this endeavor was a success for us.
It was a fun-filled memorable walk where confrontation was used as a technique to overcome difference of opinions and group decision-making was practiced for team decisions.
Four takeaway from this endeavor which are also keys for a successful project management are:
- Success criteria must be defined at the beginning in consultation with all stakeholders.
- Communication breeds success. A well-planned communication strategy is vital for project’s success.
- Change is inevitable. You need to foresee challenges, risks and always need to have a change management plan in place.
- Working together works. Remember the best team doesn’t win as often as the team that gets along best.
JOHN CHAMBERS: You can teach a rhesus monkey to be a director in a day.
– from the movie, “Argo”
Ben Affleck received a Golden Globe for Best Director for “Argo” and was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air. It’s a great interview and Affleck comes across as very intelligent and articulate and relates some interesting and funny stories about making Argo and about his career. One of the stories was about his experience as a first time director of “Gone Baby Gone.” Interviewer Terry Gross asked him what it was like as a first time director. Affleck talked about some advice he got from Kevin Costner, who had received an Oscar for directing his first film, “Dances with Wolves”:
AFFLECK: Yeah. I talked to – the one advantage I had is I could talk to other people who have done it. And I remember talking to Kevin Costner and saying, like, what do I do? I’m going to direct a movie. Kevin said: Make sure that on your first day, you know what your second shot is. And I was, like, what you mean? He said, everyone goes there and knows what their first shot is, and they do the first shot, and all of a sudden think: What am I going to do now? He’s, like, make sure you know the second shot, and that’ll get you rolling into, you know, we’re going to do this. We finished that. OK, guys, let’s go over here. And now the crew trusts you.
A director is very often seen as a leader in that people and resources must be guided towards the completion of a project that achieves a vision. Costner’s advice to “make sure you know the second shot” is good advice that is delivered well. As a leader, you need to have some kind of a plan for how you are going to achieve a goal and knowing what you think you will do after the first step is the best sign that you have at least some sort of plan. And as a leader, the people you lead need to see that you have some sort of a plan. The way Costner delivered that advice was also good; he made it concrete and put it in the language of what Affleck was trying to be a leader in – making movies.
So often, you read a book about Leadership and the concepts, like “have a plan”, are stuck in abstraction. You think, “yeah, a plan makes sense.” But then you don’t know how that translates into specific behaviors for your particular situation and you ask, “What does that mean I’m supposed to do?”
If you are a first-time leader or even an experienced leader in a circumstance that you are not familiar with, find that person who has experience and get that concrete advice that describes what behaviors you need to do to demonstrate leadership in this particular situation. If you are offering advice, make sure you give it in concrete terms that the recipient can act upon.
Photo by jinterwas
Simon would like to allocate performance bonus to his workforce who got performance rating of 5/5 and 4/5. People who got 5/5 rating will get (X) % of their base salary as performance bonus where as 4/5 will get (X-1) %. He would like to define compensation metric for the same so that he can apply it, with his decided % amounts, on his entire workforce rather than allocating to each one of them. He would also like to share it with his peers or subordinates in case they would like to use same metrics with their own numbers.
Neither the use of organization wide published metrics is new to compensation process nor is the desire of a manager to build his own metrics for distributing compensation. Only question is whether your current (or potential) adopted compensation solution supports it or not.
As a manager, you would always like to create metrics that you can use to allocate compensation to your team as it will facilitate a smooth process and help you in well-informed decision-making. From ages, managers are using off-line tools to flag and store decision attributes which helps them in making compensation as well as other decisions. What they actually need is a system which not only allows them to build their own metrics based on various person related attributes but also allows them to share it with their peers or subordinates. Manager owned metrics supplements the organization wide metrics (aka HR established Metrics) and not really replace them.
Some managers will be happy if system supports basic attributes like performance rating, work location, Job/Grade whereas others may need more specific attributes like years in Job/Grade, compa-ratio and grade ranges. It will be beneficial to have embedded support for all the possible decision attributes as well as custom attributes (an extension to store business specific values) so that managers can build robust metrics for compensation allocations with great ease. It will result in compensation allocation process to reach the next level.