Saturday, September 29, 2007

Talent Management -Bollywood Style

The HR guru's amongst my readers would agree that Talent Identification and Assessment are two critical pillars of Talent management . Simply put Talent Management facilities a process and culture which ensures that the best and brightest automatically bubble to the top . If we were to believe that an organization is a microcosm of a larger society then what we are witnessing today in most Indian organizations is also indeed true for Bollywood .

Many years ago Anu Kapoor ran a show called "Meri Awaaz Suno" - to me it was a Talent Management intervention .A little girl from Bhilai won the hearts and imagination of India. That little girl was Sunidhi Chauhan , the program was a process and a platform which allowed a top talent like her to get pan India exposure . Programs such as Meri Awaaz Suno heralded the beginning of Talent Management revolution in playback singing @ Bollywood . Along the journey were many such shows , and the latest one is the Sangeet Ka Vishwa Yudh . We are now in the final stages of the program with Amanat , Raja and Aneek . These three singing sensations have come a long way displacing people like Poonam Yadav, Sumdeha and my heartthrob Mouli. While all the singers were undoubtedly brilliant , but without a process like the Vishwa Yudh , these people would not have got an opportunity or an exposure that they well deserve . To put this in context , in the good old days at Bollywood incumbency was a big factor , Lata Mangeshkar remained the playback Queen for decades without any noticeable threat to her position . Was there a talent shortage in the country...???? , were there no Mouli's, Poonam's or Sumedha's during her time ....I don't think so , what was probably lacking was platforms like the ones that we are discussing . The power of these platforms are immense and the outcomes that they can create for an industry is what we are experiencing first hand now.

I would like to highlight two key learning's from Bollywood which could be of use to HR professionals who engage in the process of Talent Management .

Let the Soul of the Process Flourish

What happens in the name of Talent Management are generally elaborate paper exercises and assessments which kill the soul of the process . By killing the soul of the process I am hinting at the complex psychometric tools often used to identify talent (however valid the consultants who peddle them claim to be ) are fraught with errors and to put undue emphasis on the tools only is disastrous .

Use Professional Talent Spotters and Talent Managers

Spotting Talent is not necessarily a function of competency frameworks or psycometry . The Aussie Cricket Board has talent scouts who scan the country and select young players with promise. A similar process happens thought he regional and city rounds of these Bollywood programs . In India however I have not heard of Talent Scouts in organizations . An individuals potential is often assessed in the context of his current and future roles . While I do not have a conceptual quarrel with this process , however happens that the potential assessment is left a bit too late for any meaningful development to happen , which leads to a situation wherein either the top talent is frustrated and leaves the organization or even worse stays back and becomes a cynic. While timing of assessment is important , the other critical issues is that potential assessment happens in the context of a set of Role Based Competencies and rarely on well grounded Generic Competencies . The challenge is of course to maintain a balance between the competencies required to deliver the current role and or future roles as also the ability to manage organizations and add stakeholder value . Often the second objective take a backseat

To conclude , I believe that Indian organizations and HR processes should be capable of identifying the Poonam Yadav's , Sunidhi Chauhan's , Shreya Ghosal's and Mouli's of the world so that there is some real competition to incumbements like Lata or Asha . "Lata tai , Asha tai no disrespect meant probably had it a bit easy , but Sunidhi will face far more competition as the Talent Processes of Bollywood and getting stronger and stronger ..."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Google vs. Microsoft: A Rivalry Is Created

Microsoft must really hate Google. This has become an online rivalry…almost officially. Even though Google is ahead of the market in search and many other aspects of the world online (by far the worlds largest online company), well Microsoft is well…Microsoft…Windows…Bill Gates…

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Google Wants You To Share Stuff

Google has entered the social bookmarking market with a new product called Shared Stuff.Shared Stuff is simple enough; users drag a “email/ share” button into their browser, and click it when they want to add pages to their Shared Stuff profile. Links can include an image, text extract, and/ or a user comment.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

Coaching ......Child's play ...Isnt it

Well the latest buzz word in the Indian HR scene is Executive Coaching . As far as Indian managers are concerned executive coaching is not a new concept . I have heard of managers who have had coaches at least five years ago . However , the concept of coaching as a business proposition is gaining rapid currency amongst us in the last year or so. I know of friends and colleagues who are already or aspire to be Executive Coaches . There are some who call themselves Performance coaches and some who just coach ...(performance or otherwise) . When I first heard of real coaches , I was much younger and I dismissed them as personal shrinks to some CEO or wannabe CEO...., but the trend is rapidly changing , almost everybody either wants to be a coach or be coached , which has created this demand for "Your Friendly Neighbourhood Coach" and their USP is ...I don't need to know anything about your business ,or your pressures , I can just coach ....fantastic isn't it . I witnessed a similar phenomena in the US in 2001 . I was looking for a Training Manager , and I had shortlisted some 40 people for a face to face discussion . At least 7 of them (who had no training experience before) told me , that " Of course I can train...., whats the big deal...." . Drawing parallels from the training example , of course any human being can coach anybody else , bring to bear life's perspectives and add value....does it not sound simple enough.

I am sure Marshal Goldsmith (the God of Executive Coaching ) would dismiss me as a cynic and a non believer of people process ...but my disconnect is for the following reasons :

a) To be able to coach others , the coach should not be insecure .....unfortunately most of the coaches that I know are really insecure ( my data is based on a minuscule set of the world of coaches and hence I am aware that I make a sweeping generalization here , but my world view is limited to my experiences ...sorry about that ) and for all the good reasons want to prove to their coachee how smart they are .....and their notion of adding value is to leave you with a feeling that I am actually better than you

b) Coaching as a service will be potent only when the coach is truly interested in the development of the coachee . The kind of money that a good coach commands in the US market ( I am told that a certain Indian CEO Coach charges USD 20K ) for a day' s session makes me feel that it is a very very good business , so to be honest , I also want to be a coach and start making that kind of money ,who cares if I am really interested in the development of my coachee. I can fake it , and if I am Indian , I can add some spiritual masala to a Westerner and help him in his self isn't it ....I like this guy Dr Deepak Chopra , heard him once he was a good speaker ....did he add value ....certainly not !!!

c) I am fundamentally against this notion that a coach can be a person who has no clue of the context of the coachee . Most of my coach pals tell me that you have to be able to ask the right questions ...this paradigm beats the hell out of me do I even ask reasonable questions (forget right ones) if I dont know business and its intricacies . Well a lot of our Indian coaches are probably not the best business managers who graduate into this profession for motives best known to them

I was talking to a friend about enabling people a couple of hrs before I penned down this post . And in my discussion with this person , I told her that the ability to enable people comes only when one is deeply connected at all levels with the individual and has mastered an unknown equation wherein he can reach the individual at the cognitive and affective level . By this notion , I cannot be and should not be a coach, I cannot engage with all and sundry at a level which is required to unlock people's potential . As I sign off , with deep regret , let me confess that I am very simple human being and can't be a Coach

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Journey

The Journey has

break away from my dogma's
trust and embrace love
get in touch with myself
experience my anger and anguish and deal with it
unlocking my potential
come closer with people who value me
be in peace with the inherent contradictions of life

This journey is to change my life , and make a difference......

Friday, September 7, 2007


I have heard a very gripping tale of an individual who has been abandoned .....not abandoned in the physical sense of the term , but abandoned emotionally from the time he can remember

  • Abandoned by people whom he considered his loved ones
  • Abandoned by society , cheated and used (for as long as he can remember)

He is at a very critical phase of his life , he believes that being abandoned and remaining in the state is a permanent phenomena of his life , he has killed the child within him , the little things that would give him pleasure , over time he has learnt to cope with the feeling (of being abandoned), and build a wall around him , a wall which drives away true well wishers , ....he is incapable to deal with emotions like love and caring ......

What does he do ....

My advise to him is to give life another chance ,despite his experiences , try it out and get in touch with yourself my friend .....the way you lead your life is not worth it...I say this because I care

Tribute to Saurav Ganguly (DADA)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

My Id and My Super Ego

This is my century post, had intended to make it special , but this is not one , it's more of ramblings of a wandering mind......

I have a few friends who majored on Psychology and from them , I have always tried to find the meaning and the differences of Id, Ego and the Super-Ego . A colleague of mine recently help me gain clarity on the same, I will not attempt to risk trying to define it in a blog post , however as I am evolving as a person ( we all do with passage of time .....nothing special about it ) , there are times where my Id takes over me , and the Ego facilitates the struggle between the Super-Ego and the Id , the interplay is fantastic and tumultuous.Today was a day of such a struggle , and have been torn in the process ......felt low and dejected by the world and the complex human processes that I have to deal with. What does it do to me does it impact me ....I reckon it does not impact my beliefs about the world that I hold close to my heart and some that are close to my chest , however it does impact when relationships I value are confronted with the struggle .....unreasonable as it maybe ,it seems to be the truth at least for now...but not the only truth I suppose