- What does a culture of care, integrity and excellence look like?
- How do employee engagement, strengths and values fuel the development of such a culture?
- What benefits for employees and the organization does this kind of culture produce?
Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 11, Episode 16
Below are audio and video plus a transcript of the conversation, including time stamps.
What is the importance of having clear organizational values and grounding organizational decisions in them? How can an organization's values take root in its culture? And how can employee engagement and CliftonStrengths be a powerful resource in this process? Manoj Sharma, President and Chief Human Resource Officer at Aarti Industries in India, has seen the benefits of developing an organizational culture based on values for Aarti and its employees, regardless of generation. And Gallup's Q12® employee engagement survey and CliftonStrengths have played a key role in this process. Join us for some potent insights on values and culture.
I'm a true believer of people are possibilities. ... If you invest in them, they will show the results.Manoj Sharma, 49:41
Practice ... becomes habit, and habit becomes culture.Manoj Sharma, 1:00:22
Culture eats strategy [for] breakfast.Manoj Sharma, 16:17
Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on April 18, 2023.
Jim Collison 0:19
Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you're listening live and you don't see the chat room, there's a link to it right above me there. It'll take you to YouTube. You can use the YouTube chat or stay right there if you want. That's fine. If you have questions after the fact, you can always send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast app or right there on YouTube, so you never miss an episode. Deepanjan Deb is our host today. DD, as we like to call him, is our Market Leader for Gallup and is located in our India office. His Top 5 are Context, Individualization, Learner, Strategic and Achiever. And DD, always great to be with you. Welcome back!
Meet Our Guest on This Episode
Deepanjan Deb 1:09
Thank you so much, Jim. A very good evening to you. It's always a pleasure to do these interactive sessions with very special people. You know, this is our second edition in 2023 in India, and I'm really thrilled to be back along with you, because this edition is special because we have someone very, very senior from the fraternity with us. So, good morning, Manoj. Welcome to the show. Before I let you ask a few questions, I'll take the honor and privilege to introduce Mr. Manoj, Mr. Manoj Sharma, who is the President as well as the Chief Human Resource Officer of Aarti Industries Limited, an advocate of human capitalization in the work ecosystem by vision and a huge people leader and a reputed leader in, across the country. Manoj's experience across different geographies, as well as his dynamic leadership, is one of the most important facets that define him as a leader. He is a member of many organizations, like, including the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. He was awarded the Economic Times Award in the category of HR Leader of the Year in 2021, amongst the large-scale organizations. Manoj, it's been a pleasure and privilege to know you for the last 3 years, and welcome to Gallup's Called to Coach for 2023!
Manoj Sharma 2:35
Many thanks, DD, and thanks, Jim, for hosting me.
Deepanjan Deb 2:40
So Manoj, my first question to you is, you know, you have had so rich experience across so many different geographies, you know, different organizations. If you could tell us a little bit about your experience and how it has shaped you, you know, being the leader that you are today.
Manoj Sharma 2:59
Great, thanks, DD. I think my journey started as a learner, and I'm still continuing as a learner. And so that is one thing which has remained common. Early in the career stage, I actually, I picked up what is needed to be relevant in the domain. And that has really helped me, and I got to really go to work with a fantastic set of leaders early in my life. And actually, throughout my good career for, at least for a decade and half, very good people came in my life as my manager or colleagues. So that, that has really helped me to grow in life. And whatever I am today, I think the major contributors are them and the team members whom I got to work. And I really take pride today, when I look back, I notice at least 12 of my team members are leading the HR function in various companies, and that is a great satisfaction. They have been part of my team, and that, that, that gives me a goose bump in terms of contributing back and also learning from them, from the point of view of their dynamic leadership.
Manoj Sharma 4:24
As far as my, you know, experience goes, I think I have always taken kind of a risk with myself or experimented myself quite a lot, you know. Every 3 to 4 years, there has been a role change -- not the organization change but the role change. And I am a firm believer of being at one place and really leverage that place fully. So I started with my journey with Aditya Birla group. It lasted for 19 years. But in 19 years, I must have done eight different roles, and at an interval of 3 to 4 years. So that has really rounded me up to a great extent and gave me an opportunity to work with very tall leaders across the globe. First time, then after 19 years, I took the first break, and I joined Vedanta Resources, with very, very, you know, under the dynamic leadership of Agarwals, and got to learn the metal and mining business as a very dynamic, you know, business the way they were running the commodity business. And it was actually, you know, coming out of my comfort zone and accepting things which are, which were really not part of my thought process, or maybe my blind spots, and I could actually venture into them and, and put in my best efforts to really pick up a lot many things from the entrepreneurial point of view, or the values which Vedanta was advocating.
Manoj Sharma 6:17
Then, I took a bigger courage, you know, in my life, and I went to Africa, in a place called Lubumbashi, which is in Democratic Republic of Congo, where I was the Chief Human Resource Officer for a metal and mining company. And very, very, again, promising company; they, they are the largest producer of cobalt, and cobalt today is one of the most prestigious metals, especially for the electra, you know, from, for the batteries point of view. And they were the largest producer of cobalt in the world. And having worked there, seeing the fourth world so closely and manage diverse set of individuals was, was really, really eye opening for me. And I had to come back because of my family reasons and parental reasons and, but I had a great time. I mean, whatever perception people have about Africa, what I heard about Africa is really, really changed when I was there. It is such a beautiful continent, very beautiful people and extremely loving, you know, environment. And if you remain authentic to them, and simple to them, they just been there for you. And so, it was a very, very, I would say, enriching experience of seeing the fourth world and, and the various nuances around that.
Manoj Sharma 7:50
Then I came back to India and joined Aarti Industries, almost 4 1/2 years back. And when I started my journey here, I think, somewhere in my thought process, OK, this is the place where I, I can experiment with all my experience of last 23, 24 years. And as a result, I think my promoters or my founders trusted in me and gave me complete autonomy to set up the HR function to make the organization future-ready. And the narrative was very powerful, and it still remains very powerful. And the kind of work I got to do in last 4 years was phenomenal. And I am really, really pleased, you know, certain things, which we do, even Gallup played a very significant role in terms of building up our employee engagement framework. And during the pandemic, post-pandemic, I think people are in, in a best state of mind, actually. So that's, that's what briefly I can say, DD, you know, the experience, and I'm really privileged to work with diverse communities in my life, and very, very --
Deepanjan Deb 9:22
Yeah, it's a very, very detailed, as well as interesting, you know, information that is shared, because, you know, your experience with so many different cultures shapes up the way you actually deal with people from diverse backgrounds in India now, you know, working, working at Aarti Industries. We'll speak, we'll speak, of course, in detail about, you know, your insights on, on the importance of engagement, culture and strengths. But before we, we go deep there, you know, as is the norm for us, we, we start with the StrengthsFinder. And I know that you got exposed to the Gallup strengths philosophy way back before we launched this show also, right? So if you can tell us a little bit about your journey with the StrengthsFinder as an individual, you know, and how it, you know, helped you -- what was your reaction when you saw the report?
Manoj Sharma 10:16
I think my, my qualification, you know, I did one of my postgrad in psychology with a specialization in organizational behavior. And then after that, I did my management. I don't know, I mean, positive psychology has always been very cold to me, very, you know, I, I really, you know, wanted to my Ph.D. in the positive psychology. And the first book which I read, First, Break All the Rules, you know, where the Gallup has played a significant role. And then when I got exposed to the framework of Gallup in '97, I actually moved quite a lot the, with the whole framework of Gallup and the way that Gallup is shaping up the organization for future success. And then in 2004, I actually, you know, I took my first StrengthsFinder, and when I look back of almost, now close to 20 years, DD, and I shared my report with almost 20 to 25 my, of my significant colleagues here in Aarti. And I said, OK, this is a 20 years back report. And today, the whole report, it still remains relevant. And that, and many of them have said, OK, you are exactly like this, and, you know, what you were, you know, underlying mindset about 20 years back.
Manoj Sharma 11:52
So, I think that that has been a, I would say, a blessing to me in towards continuing my momentum, the way I was built up and just harnessing the, that further, all that strength that, whether it is Strategic Thinker, or Activator, or, you know, positive thinker or listener, etc. So, I feel it's a great tool, and it can really set the momentum for you for the future success. And I truly believe in that, and that, that the pudding lies in, you know, sharing it with your team members, sharing it with your significant others. When you do that, actually, you know, you broaden the circle of success. And when you broaden the circle of success, I think there is a lot of shaping takes place. And, and, and that is how it happened with me. And it remains one of the most important reports for me. And I take a lot of, I would say, insight and foresight and excitement and energy when I see that.
Deepanjan Deb 13:16
Wonderful. And, you know, one of the things that really I want to, you know, share with the viewers as well is that, you know, one question that we always receive from a lot of people who have taken the assessment, excuse me, is that Should we again retake the assessment? Now, what we say is that, unless you go through a life-changing situation, you should not retake it. Yours is a prime example. You took it almost two decades back, right? You've, you've gone through so many different roles in so many different geographies. And yet, when you show your report to people now in your organization, they feel that you are this person -- you are a mirror image of who this report is, right? So, you know, that is something very, very reassuring, because we advise people not to retake the assessment because human behavior doesn't change, unless you go through, you know, any life-changing situation. Because this is a very, very interesting and, you know, insightful information you shared, you know, Manoj, because when people after 20 years can relate to the fact that this is who you are as an individual, you know, the probability that you will have the same Top 5 as someone else is 1 in 33 million, right. And your Top 5, you know, it starts with, you know, Self-Assurance, you know, you have Activator, you have Strategic, you have Maximizer, and you have Communication, right. That's great to hear. Before I move on to the next, you know, set of questions, Jim, any, any first thoughts from your end after listening, listening to Manoj?
Jim Collison 14:52
No, I like, I like where you guys are going. Let's just, let's just keep the momentum going there, DD.
Employee Engagement at Aarti Industries
Deepanjan Deb 14:58
OK, perfect. So, Manoj, I'll start with something that you, you talked about, you know. We have been working with you, you know, at Aarti Industries for almost 3 years now. And we've done some significant work in the employee engagement space where, you know, we've seen a lot of changes that has been, you know, successfully implemented in your organization. So what I want to, where I would like to start is that, What was your, what is your, you know, first thought about seeing the work done on the engagement front in, in Aarti Industries? And how did it eventually help you take some important business-related decisions?
Manoj Sharma 15:41
Very great question. I think we are building Aarti for the future. And, and when we see, it's a, it's a close to a 4-decade-old company, but it remains very, very hungry, from the future success point of view. And we are building Aarti for, for next, I guess, for next good amount of 100 years and so. And lot of investment is happening towards culture building. And when I, because culture eats strategy in the breakfast. And that is where the whole success, everyone in Aarti is exposed to, you know, culture-building-related workshops. And we initiated that journey about 5 years back, and we are continuing that journey. There are close to 120 days of culture-building work. And the insights which are coming out from the engagement surveys, which we are taking every year last 3 years, has been very, very powerful, I would say, provider of data and information in which direction we should do and which areas to really work upon.
Manoj Sharma 17:02
And I'm really happy to share some of the powerful decisions which we have taken. Basis of our reports and finding is, is something like we are advocating is we are a hierarchy-free organization, you know, where, you know, things doesn't move as per the hierarchy. People are, you know, at across all the levels, every one is leader. So we have developed our own model, we call it Aarti Engaging Leader. Aarti Engaging Leader is one who lives Aarti values of care, integrity and excellence; who operates in a natural state of action; who works in alignment; who speaks and listens powerfully; who's a cause in the matter; and cocreates a world-class company. That's our own leadership model, and that is where the work has happened quite a lot, where everyone is exposed to the, you know, the various nuances of this leadership model. And we are practicing it, and that is where the Gallup insights, inputs coming out of our survey is very, very key.
Manoj Sharma 18:23
Because we see people are possibilities, you know, and we see people bring the change -- whatever, you know, change which we are looking for. So, we have series of transformations, you know, since 2012, it is started. So, this is third phase of transformation. In this third phase of transformation, you know, we have chalked out our future for '23 to '27 -- for four years. And we have given a, you know, kind of a theme to this transformation as, Shape the Future: Be World-Class. And around that, we have identified four strategic areas. One of the strategic areas is people's wellbeing. And that is where, you know, the greater, greater amount of, you know, I would say, insights will come from the Gallup assessments and various other initiatives which Gallup is working with us. You know, I recall about a year and half back, we engaged with Gallup on our creating a culture of recognition and appreciation. And when I see today, I think almost in all our, all our factories, all our plant locations, all our verticals, all our -- almost across the company, the culture of recognition and appreciation is, is visible, is demonstrated by the leaders, is demonstrated by the team members. And it's been talked about; it's there in the conversation. And, and when I, when we took the last engagement survey, the score has significantly moved up, you know, to the extent of close to you know, 0.4, which is a significant momentum. OK.
Manoj Sharma 20:29
And we, we fundamentally, did, you know, some workshops with Gallup coaches and a lot of sensitization to our key people managers. I think that, that journey has really, really worked. And so, as we have, again, identified certain areas, and we are thinking, you know, Gallup can bring bigger and better insights, you know, on those areas, you know, we are, we are ready to invest further in our capabilities of our people managers, and that is where, you know, some areas has been identified, and we'll be working towards it. Our engagement journey in 3 years, you know, it has moved significantly, you know. The last survey, the engagement score has moved by 0.17, which is a significant jump on, you know, as far as the, you know, survey feedback is concerned. And last 2 months, we have been disseminating all the results. The kind of vibes I'm getting from people is, is like, you know, giving me at least threefold kind of energy, in terms of, you know, being with them and enabling them, helping them and take it to the next, next level. Everyone is becoming the owner, and they are owning up the success of becoming a world-class company.
Manoj Sharma 21:58
So, super, super, you know, very, very powerful; I would say energy is flowing across the company. The productivity levels are best; there are the safety and sustainability. Very recently, we, you know, we do a sustainability study or a safety perception survey. Our outcome on safety perception survey from the extended come, you know, members of the indirect and direct both are close to 9,000 people took the survey. It's in the, the top quarter, as far as the safety-perception survey is concerned. And I feel this is possible when people are in a thriving mode; people are, you know, free from the, all threats; people are productive; people are, you know, not having any inhibitions to express themselves. So, that is, that is what the culture which we have been focusing. Aarti Engaging Leader is becoming a very pivotal thing, and Gallup is, like, the outcome of Gallup surveys are being used and being referred for various, various other initiatives. So it's, it's, it's like cutting across all the levels.
Deepanjan Deb 23:14
Yeah, thank you so much. This is very, very insightful, as well as so much data-centric, you know. Jim, your thoughts?
Creating Momentum for a Culture of Recognition
Jim Collison 23:21
Yeah. Let me, let me ask you, Manoj, let me ask you this question. You know, that Q04 question of praise and recognition, I've received praise or recognition in the last 7 days. The important part of that question is "for doing good work," and, and, and giving people meaningful things to do, right; having teams doing meaningful work. How are you encouraging that throughout the organization? Because it's hard sometimes to get that momentum of recognition going. How, what kind of things are you guys doing to kind of, not just keep the momentum but just get it going, in some cases?
Manoj Sharma 23:58
I think great question, Jim. I think we have taken certain, I think we are impacting the whole ecosystem. It's not in isolation. So, we have taken certain systemic measures, where, and we have a digital platform, where reward and recognition is a, you know, very integral or, you know, being used as a -- so it provides a very, I would say, very administrative ease for people to, you know, do their bit, in terms of recognizing or appreciating their team members or peers, etc. So, there is a digital platform available. Second, each leaders or, or people managers, they have their own way of recognizing people. We have a spot, a recognition kind of, you know, framework. And that, so that is, that, that is at play. That is 2.
Manoj Sharma 24:56
No. 3 is, is where, you know, there are the HR tools or the HR business processes. The integrity of HR business processes in Aarti is of, one of the best, I would say that. And during those discussions, suppose we have, we have something called conversation, or we have something called buddy -- buddy work. Each and every member in the, in the white collar is part of the work buddy in Aarti Industries. The integrity on buddy work is to the extent of 95% to 97%. OK, every week, the buddy talks to each other and, you know, share their learning, share their -- it's, it's, it's like, you know, freeing up people, and it's keeping them in a natural state of action. And that is where, you know, that time devoted by the people managers towards their team members is really helping. Recognition is not only just like, you know, giving promotions or sending into the training programs or taking them for dinner, or -- I mean, though, there are 1,001 ways of, you know, recognizing and appreciating people. I think it, individual needs to have their own novelty.
Manoj Sharma 26:17
I tell you a case, simple case. One of my team members got married about 2 months back, OK. I had a heart-to-heart conversation with him yesterday, because it's a big event in his life. How he is, you know, today after married, is he really enjoying being married? And, you know, what's, what's the underlying mindset? Where is he? You know, so, I think it is very, very important to address both personal and professional aspects of it, and have a heart-to-heart relations. You know, support your people. Support is, I feel support is a big way of creating a trust and feeling and, and is being seen as a big, big game changer or a recognition for the individual -- OK, my manager is giving time to me and discussing all this, you know, things and sharing one's experience. So, one, one really needs to, like I always say, horses for the coaches. You cannot have copy-paste approach for, for everything, you know; you, you need to see the need of the individual and create your own avenues for recognizing and appreciating. And that is what is happening in Aarti. And I think everybody is having their own, I would say, uncanny way of appreciating and recognizing their team members. And so that culture is visible, and that culture is visible in energy and enthusiasm and participation and involvement. And like, 5 days, 100% of the people took the engagement survey in Aarti. I did not pursue or follow with anyone. 100% -- fact is, it happened. That, that, that, that is a bigger indication for making the state of, you know, mind people are here. And I think, along with recognition and reward, I think many other things, the whole ecosystem is working.
Recognition and Wellbeing
Jim Collison 28:31
Well, we know, and we line up expectations. When we have the right materials and equipment, we got people lined up in the right, you know, using their strengths, and recognition is happening. You mentioned a word earlier, and I want to come back to it. What do you think that recognition is doing for people's wellbeing? Like, is it having an effect that goes backwards and is affecting their wellbeing? Can you talk a little bit about that?
Manoj Sharma 28:55
I think recognition does play a most important role in the people's wellbeing, whether it is physical wellbeing or, you know, career wellbeing or financial wellbeing or, you know, spiritual wellbeing or mental wellbeing. You know, recognition is one thing, and I'm a very big advocate of that. Because if you enter in our office and somebody smiles at you, and says, "Oh, Sukov, you're looking really good today, I think that, that makes your day; you know, you are in a different state, you are in a different orbit, I, in terms of really demonstrating your leadership style for that particular day. So I guess, if, if you want your people to be in a thriving mode, recognition is the only tool or appreciation is the only tool. I mean, we need to give those positive strokes in a manner that most people and, you know, that kind of compels them to give their best. I think that, that is what you know, the conversation in Aarti, that is what we are trying to advocate as well, and keeping it light, you know. So, like, for example, when I am coming, was coming to this session, one of my team members came and gave me a thumbs up, you know. Oh, super, I mean, it created a different energy, you know, in me. So, I feel, you know, when you have colleagues like that or a culture like that, a lot can be achieved, and your wellbeing is in the, I would say one of the best state of thriving.
Jim Collison 30:43
DD, I'll put it back to you.
The Importance of Organizational Values
Deepanjan Deb 30:45
Thank you much; I was, you know, listening very -- so Manoj, before I ask you the next question, I actually have a very interesting thing to do. So, my question is to Jim, OK. Jim, how many years have you been with Gallup?
Jim Collison 31:01
Deepanjan Deb 31:03
15. I have, this is my 11th year; I complete my 11th year in the next few, few days. Manoj has been with, in his first organization, with the Aditya Birla group, for 19 years. And Manoj, during the course of his introduction, mentioned something, which was very, I had noted down, you know. He mentioned values, right. And, you know, when we do engagement work with clients, we also do something which is beyond our Q12, which is, which we call as cultural indexes. And one of the cultural indexes that we measure at Aarti Industries is also values, right. So, my, that group, that takes me to the next question, Manoj. In today's age of millennials and Gen Z's and everything, how much has values contributed to the culture at Aarti Industries? And where do you foresee this in the next, in the coming years? We know that we work, we try to measure and manage that through the questions that we ask, but, you know, values has remained an integral part of your, your life and experience across so many different places, right. And that helped to shape -- and I'm sure, Jim, the same follows through for you as well as it does for me. So if people ask me that, you know, you've been at the same organization for 11 years, you know, values within Gallup has something that has made me not think twice, but to stay here. So, Manoj, your thoughts on the importance of values, you know, especially in today's generation, where we see, you know, too much fickle?
Manoj Sharma 32:48
DD, when it comes to values, I am actually very fortunate to experience that kind of a value orientation in Aarti Industries. You know, every decision is value-centric. You know, I'm actually very fortunate. When the pandemic, you know, started, you know, our values are care, integrity and excellence. My Chairman and the significant other stakeholder Vice Chairman, managing directors, they clearly told me -- nobody would lose job on account of pandemic in Aarti Industries. I tell you, everything, that gave me so much of courage, so much of courage to remain and ensure there is a business continuity and sustainability. All of our processes, whether it is timely and work comp revisions, bonus payouts, promotions, everything happened dot on time. I see there was a bloodbath in the corporate, you know, globally, and on salary cuts and all sorts of, you know, things happened. But I'm, I'm really, really happy to share, Aarti is one such company -- we did not change anything.
Manoj Sharma 34:19
And that gave me a lot of courage, because we took the decision, keeping our values as source. So all of our decision-making are sources of our values. So we, you know, care, integrity and excellence. There has been many, many leading examples with respect to customers, with respect to communities, with respect to employee wellbeing. I tell you, during pandemic, I happen to, you know, one of my colleagues’ spouse, she was affected. And she needed a, you know, lung transplant. She was affected that bad. I and company stood with that manager and his family. And we ensured she get the best of the treatment. And it happened. She got, we, we ensured she got the lung transplant done. And so because we truly believe and demonstrate value of care, when it comes to care, I think we, we don't -- everybody in the company is, is like, like taking exceptional steps, in terms of helping or caring people. And that, you know, many a times, I've asked in my open discussions or town hall, What is one thing which occurred to your mind when you think of Aarti Industries? You know, I think the first thing is values. People are so, so, I would say, thoughtful about it, and they are experiencing it in the decision-making. So values are actually, you know, providing us a lot of courage, and kind of, you know, enabling us to take very, very powerful decisions for the business success and continuity.
Manoj Sharma 36:24
And that, and I would say that culture was existed before my journey, and I'm, I'm just enabling it or strengthening or taking it further. So the, Aarti Industries was always a values-centric company; it will continue to remain a values-centric company. And that is, that is a big blessing for us.
Deepanjan Deb 36:48
Wonderful, wonderful to hear, Manoj, because in these times where, you know, we see so much of variability in life, you know, values is something that makes you stick to something, you know, stick to what you're doing and make you believe in what you're doing. So, it's lovely to hear. And, you know, before I move on to the next question, I must mention on air that, you know -- Jim can clarify this -- this has to be one of the most attended shows live across, we've been doing this for so many years now, Jim. This has to be, you know, and we thank everyone in the audience who have joined us. And in the last 10 minutes, we'll take a few questions from you. So, if you have any questions for Manoj, please, you know, write those in the comment section. Jim will, you know, help them, you know, ask it back to Manoj.
Deepanjan Deb 37:37
But moving on to the next question, Manoj, you know, we’ll go back to one of our, you know, tying philosophy of strengths and what happens when, you know, organizations work or when we say that you're creating a strengths-based culture, right, one of the facets of that is that strengths is scientific self-awareness. And when people or, say, employees are aware of their potential, especially when they're working with, you know, a group of people, they work in harmony with interdependent teams, this helps to reduce conflicts, right.
Some Benefits of Strengths, Self-Awareness
Deepanjan Deb 38:15
For example, if you know that you are, say you are empathetic by nature. The fact that you are empathic in nature is something that you, you have been doing. That's what we call as a trait theory, right. But others to know that you are empathetic is also very important; that is where strengths plays a very important role in team dynamics. Because each person recognizes why, you know, his or her peer group filters information in a certain way. And this is where we see that the strengths interplays with engagement. Your thoughts on that? You know, because you have been working bits and pieces to create a wonderful culture within the Aarti Group, and your thoughts on how strengths can play a role as you look into the future? Because it allows not only a scientific self-awareness at an individual level, but also allows you to work together and create a effort which is much bigger than this, like a synergistic effort.
Manoj Sharma 39:27
So, how I see it, you know, how strengths can be a game changer for your future success, you know. And when I look back, you know, I have been a strong, remained a very strong advocate of demonstrating your strength. And whatever improvement areas, or I call it barriers in my success from the improvement point of view, yes, they are also important to be aware of. But I feel if you demonstrate your strength, they can, they can be, you know, they will be much more awaited in the eyes of the people; they, you know, people would leverage you more when, when you truly believe in your strength and demonstrate at the workplace. And that has typically happened with me for, for a number of years.
Manoj Sharma 40:27
Secondly, I see strength by nature reduces a lot of stress in you, OK. And when you are stress-free, your discretionary effort goes up big time. And that is what I feel, you know, a strength can bring more innovative thoughts in people; they can make you, strength can really make you stress-free or, you know, your wellbeing much, will be much, much more, I would say, in a good shape; in a thriving, you know, kind of situation. And it is important to be aware of your improvement areas, and if those improvement areas are becoming a barrier in your success, good to be address to them. Like, for example, I tell you. I was a poor listener. I was a poor listener, and I consciously worked on that. And today, with good authenticity, I can say that I have improved quite a lot. And it has really helped me to, you know, take my strength further.
Manoj Sharma 41:56
OK, and so, sometimes, you know, if, if you have some derailer, which, which could be seen as a derailer -- and listening, I feel for HR or a people manager is a very, very important aspect -- then you need to, you have to address and make it a part of your leadership, you know, trait or leadership style. And so, so, you need to really examine. Sometimes you need some surgery in the form of that, by working on your, you know, improvement areas, if they are very, very foundational in nature, or poor in nature, like, in my case, it was listening. Otherwise, you know, like, you know, if you see my strengths, being Self-Assured, Strategic Thinker, Communicator, Positive, those, it, this, this aspect of listening has really, you know, acted as a catalyst to that and has really helped to create a bigger impact for me. So I feel you, you need to see as, you know, comprehensively and truly believe in your strength, and you can really overcome your shortcomings or improvement areas, if you truly, you know, demonstrate your strength and, you know, talk about it freely. So, I feel strength is a way to go. But don't ignore your blind spots. Be aware of that. And if those blind spots are derailers, kindly act on it as well.
Deepanjan Deb 43:34
Very well said. Jim, I'm sure you would have noticed one important thing that Manoj mentioned -- that it allows you to lead stress-free. Your, your take on that, from so much experience, before we move on to the last section?
Helping Managers Do Their Jobs in Difficult Times
Jim Collison 43:51
Yeah, well, I did want to make a comment that I, too, was a poor listener. And doing this job made me better -- because I had to listen, right? I couldn't, you can't, you can't do, you can't interview people if you're not spending time listening to them. And, and so it took some, it took some real practice to do that. I do want to ask you this question real quick: Managers, we've seen some of the worst engagement scores among managers. They're just getting, you know, it's just, right now, it's a particularly difficult job. What are you doing, or how are you helping managers to do the difficult jobs that they have to do with people? What, what are you seeing out there, and how are you helping them?
Manoj Sharma 44:41
I feel, you know, every successful person, you know, is successful on account of he or she is being coached or mentored in life, you know. And like people who are not that great, people and managers or people leaders, I think it is it is your prime responsibility to sit with them and enable them. And last 25 years, I think from 2000 -- 1998 onwards, I have significant part of my time has gone into addressing that, in whatever capacity I've been associated with various organizations. And that is, you have to sit with them, make them understand how important the role of, you know, these questions in your life is, how important it is for you to overcome them. You know, and it is very easy. It's not something like you are asking, you know, somebody, like you are, you know, right-handed, to start doing things by your left hand. It's not like that. It's just enablement. And it is a continuous, I would say, enablement to various people, so that they, they tend to start working towards that. And I've seen many people, many people have changed, if you really sit with them, have a very clinical discussion, explain the merits and demerits of it.
Manoj Sharma 46:27
In addition, we have also, like, many occasions, I've experimented people who are in the top side of their Q12 scores and very, you know, tall leaders with respect to their Q12 scores. That case studies, you know, it is good to share, the success stories of them -- what they do differently; you know, why their team members are so thriving; and what is happening on the other side of it. I think that success stories, people relate a lot. So, one should really, you know, try that bit as well.
Manoj Sharma 47:04
Thirdly, I think there is good, good, very simple literature is available on platforms like Gallup Access, where people can have pinpointed action plan on, on a particular, you know, aspect of their leadership. I think they can go, you know, little bit clinical, in terms of addressing, and if it is backed by the organization support, in terms of sitting with them and enabling them and, you know, organizing sessions with them, they can overcome, you know, that particular aspect of their leadership trait. Yes, it is, it is, it takes time, but if you focus it, and if the, if there is a volunteerism from the individual, you can crack it. And so, it is, yes, it is, it is very much an important aspect for the comprehensive success of the organization. Because not everyone in the organization operates at the 4.5 levels and above, you know; there are varieties of, you know, people. And always 20% to 25% people you will find on the, on the left side of the curve. But it is, but they may be extremely good in their, you know, domain. But from the, the people results point of view, I think you need to enable them.
Manoj Sharma 48:29
And it is, it is the prime responsibility of the, of the people managers and the leaders to enable them. I tell you, I'll quote one more example here. We have initiated something called gurukol in Aarti Industries. We call it gurukol. Gurukol is a Hindi word where, you know, it's more like a, you know, mentoring -- Jim, for you -- wherein all leaders have own four to six leaders, so leaders creating leaders. And it's a 1-year program, wherein they actually, you know, tutored or you know, sensitized and kind of taken through the whole one year of journey to really overcome their barriers, or, you know, and really, you know, change their default, from the leadership perspective or the people-results perspective. So, you know, it is that kind of, you know, if you take such very structured initiatives, possibilities are there. And I'm a true believer of people are possibilities. They are not -- people, you know, if you invest in them, they will show the results. So, I'm a true believer in that.
Deepanjan Deb 49:54
Thank you. And this was very, very insightful. And before, you know, a quick follow-up to this is, which is why Gallup, you know, has been, you know, we have something which we call as we’re transitioning from a boss to a coach, because now employees are expecting their managers to be more coachlike than be a bosslike. Because you expect your, you know, manager to solve even your personal problem, right? And does play the role of a coach or a mentor. So, you know, Manoj, it has been wonderful, you know, listening to you, brother, you know, from our end. But now we have a few lovely questions from the audience that has come up. So we'll take the first question, which has come from Rachna. Rachna says that, How do you manage your feedback or action, especially if the team member isn't performing up to the mark? I think it's a very, very, very relevant question posed by Rachna. So, Manoj, your thoughts on that?
Manoj Sharma 50:51
Thanks, thanks, Rachna, I think very, very powerful question. And how do I do this as being authentic to that individual? And that, that authentic aspect is very, very important when you provide a brutal feedback, especially things like when the individual is not meeting up to the expectations. So, you do a good justice to that individual if you provide that authentic feedback; ensure that individual is not doomed. You know? So, there has, this is some aspect of an art as well, you know, how do you provide that authentic feedback or a brutal feedback in a manner the individual moves and take actions, rather than feels doomed about it. So, and it's, it's not a one sitting or a two sitting; it takes little prolonged effort and a little hand holding. And sure, create a sense, OK, you are standing for his or her success. If you, if you can do that, you know, if, in a very authentic and very simple manner -- OK, you are standing for that individual’s success -- anything is possible, in terms of communicating, even if it comes to OK, you are not really catching up, and you are not meeting up to the expectations.
Manoj Sharma 52:21
And, and I think the people or the, all the, all the tall leaders, they do it very, very successfully with this aspect. You know, they never shy away, in terms of providing feedback. I have received many such feedbacks in my life, I tell you, and that has really helped me whatever I am today. You know, so you need to create that sense -- brutal feedback is not for, you know, making your, taking you out of the business or out of your career; it is like enabling you, in a manner, OK, yes, this is required to be done. And this is needed. So you are doing a great, you know, justice in the life of the individual if you remain authentic and be straight, in terms of providing that brutal feedback. Ensure the individual doesn't feel doomed. Feelings are facts in a Gallup world. So make sure the individual is taking those actions, and it has to be actionable; it should not be generalist kind of a comment. You know, your feedback needs to be actionable. So I think the individual who provides such feedback, they also need to do certain amount of homework and, you know, before really getting into those dyadic discussions. Thank you, Rachna. Great question.
Deepanjan Deb 53:52
Yes. We have another question, which comes from Kiran, who asks you, What is your strength to be continuously motivated? How do you practice this? It's a very, self-motivation is something which is very much needed, right? You know, and I was talk, I was speaking to, actually, a friend of mine who is doing a Ph.D., and he was telling me that, you know, Ph.D. is an exercise in self-motivation every day. Right? So, it's a relevant question.
Manoj Sharma 54:21
Yeah, Kiran, to me, you know, that is the only thing is under your control. You know, and I feel you need to keep your locus of control internal. You can do anything, you know; that is how I see myself. You know, you have to have, you have to be extremely conscious about your self-talk. You know, and I am very, very mindful of my self-talk. If, my self-talks are largely optimistic. And, you know, I'm a true believer of yes, I can make things happen, I can bring results. And so my self-talk is around that. It keeps me healthy. It keeps my mind agile. It keeps me, you know, looking forward in life. So, I am not, you know, I do reflect, you know, what is not working well, but I'm not consumed by any pessimistic thought. So, by nature, I'm a little optimistic -- I would say not, not a little; I'm really optimistic. I'm extremely self-assured; I truly believe in my strength. And Self-Assured is one, you know, which gives me a lot of energy and motivation to move forward. And so it's, it's all within; it's all within.
Deepanjan Deb 55:54
Thank you, Manoj. We have a lot of questions. We'll take a couple of them before we end. And I'll combine Aditya and Jitesh’s question together. What they want to know is, How are you managing -- it's a very nice question, actually; Aditya’s question -- How are you managing the engagement level of employees from different generations? Because each generation has different requirements, right? And Jitesh follows it up with a question around, How do you encourage a culture of accountability and responsibility amongst your employees? So we’ll do these two questions, you know, we'll get your inputs, and then, then we'll let Jim take over.
Manoj Sharma 56:31
I think you need to accept, today's organization is of multigenerations and multidiversity, you know. None of the organization -- and it's not the, I feel your, in your leadership, you need to have armory which suits the requirement of various generations, you know. So, when, when you interact with people who are in the Gen X category, or when you interact with people who are in millennial category, I think, you need to, you can convey the same thing, but your style could, could be different, you know, of communicating that. So, so, that awareness is very, very important, you know, when you are communicating or when you are, you know, being part of the discussion. I think it depends when, when you are with the people who are in the Gen X and baby boomers and all that, you need to have a different leadership style of communicating the same result. And when you are with millennials or Gen, Gen Z, you, you need to have a different communicating style -- you need to be more friendly, you need to be more, I would say, open, you, and you need to be seen as one amongst them. I think when, when you are seen as one amongst them, a lot of things are possible.
Manoj Sharma 58:09
And I feel that has never been an issue for me personally, of catching up with any, I would say, generations of people. You need to have that art of developing that chemistry with them. I think when you, when you, when you be more self-aware, and when you know what's the task ahead of you, you, you, you get those vibes, you know, how to really communicate and convey and be seen as one amongst them. So Aditya, that is what, as of now, comes to my mind. And you can touch base with me for more detailed discussions on this. And when it comes to Jitesh, I think Jitesh talks about accountability and all that. I think that's a great question on accountability. It has to be a continuous endeavor, and it has to be, it has to be done religiously.
Manoj Sharma 59:06
Something, you know, I would say, when you're bringing a culture of ownership and accountability, you, you cannot be compromising on any aspect of it. When, like in Aarti, you know, we have taken our kind of, you know, creating accountability culture. We have trained our people, DD, on how to hold people to account. And we have also trained how to get you or, you know, if somebody hold you to account, what you have to do. So, you, you have to really orient your people when your, when your intent is developing certain sort of a culture, whether ownership culture or accountability culture. So invest in terms of enabling your people and explain the whole process, how to go about it. When, when I hold somebody to account, you know, there is a formal procedure we have listed it down. When somebody holds you to account, there is a procedure listed by us, because it is something new which we are trying to bring in. So you have to provide a whole, I would say, steps to that, so that people can practice. And practice then becomes habit, and habit becomes culture. So, it's a long-run process, but you, you have to do it in a very, very clinical and theoretical manner. So, that's what, Jitesh, comes to my mind.
Deepanjan Deb 1:00:36
I think going on, Manoj, I've been doing this for a long time now. And Jim has been doing it for a longer, longer time. “Practice becomes habit, and habit becomes culture”; I don't think we have a better way to end this, you know, as we talk about engagement and culture. Jim, I think it has been one of my best experiences today, having this discussion with you and Manoj. So all over to you to take the next part and, you know, end this show.
Jim Collison 1:01:05
Yeah, you bet. And I'm an Xer. But I tell people, I'm the oldest millennial you'll ever meet, because I want all the same things. And you're right -- we've just all got to kind of blend it together to make it work. Manoj, thank you for, for your insight. I will tell Mark, my editor, make sure he pulls that out. We'll make it a pull quote, and we'll put that in the show notes and make sure that's very prominent. Because I do like that. I think those are some great steps. Well, we'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources -- Manoj mentioned this a little bit earlier -- at Gallup Access. Go to gallup.com/cliftonstrengths. You can sign in there and get access to Gallup Access there. For coaching, master coaching or if you want to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, just send us an email: email@example.com. Stay up to date with all future webcasts just like this one. And by the way, this blew out all the records that we've ever done in India tonight -- about 140 live, which is super cool. But you can follow us: gallup.eventbrite.com. Join us for the 2023 Gallup at Work Summit -- we have both virtual and in-person options available there. Check out all the details -- not too late -- but at gallupatwork.com. Find us on all social platforms just by searching “CliftonStrengths.” We want to thank you for joining us today for this special webcast, and we, thanks for coming out. If you listened live, especially thanks for coming out. With that, we'll say, Goodbye everybody.
Manoj Sharma's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Self-Assurance, Activator, Strategic, Maximizer and Communication.
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