Analysis By Rohit Hasteer

The greatest of inventions, achievements and world changing events have rarely happened between the conventions of 9-6.  A clock is a great tool to measure timelines of success, however, it is used by many to define boundaries of commencing and closing the day, and, how one uses the clock is one’s own prerogative. Elon Musk, the Founder of SpaceX, Tesla, and PayPal said, “If I can put 80 hours a week while others are putting 40 hours a week, I can achieve something in 4-5 months what others achieve in a year.” That said, it is also true that endless slogging and pressure without the necessary time off has often led the very best to burn out much earlier than they should!

 

Anuj is encountering a problem that is prevalent in most organisations - finding the right balance between freedom and discipline. While they tried out several options, such as defining the working hours to creating ‘core hours’, to using technology to track discipline, it appears that nothing has yielded the desired results. It is also important to note how the current issues were not prevalent when the company started, or, when the team size was small. Then how and where did that passion, dignity of labour or boundarylessness vanish? In order to understand this, one has to go beyond the obvious to analyse the behavioural triggers.

 

Looking at the bottom of the proverbial iceberg, the problem is not discipline, but the lack of a deep connect between the team members, and the lack of vision that binds the team to a larger goal that might be driving these behaviours across all teams. It is clearly visible that team members are unwilling to empathize with another team member’s challenges and concerns, or do things that help their peers to achieve their goal. ‘This is not my job’ or ‘I am not willing to wait or stay back’ is common when the feeling of oneness is missing in a team and cannot be fixed by schedules or processes. This pegs the biggest point as to why people should connect and go beyond the defined boundaries for each other. The vision that gave birth to Anuj’s company does not seem to resonate as the company grew in size. Unless everyone has something that is bigger than their individual goals, people are unlikely to connect at a deeper level.

 

As the CEO and founder, Anuj needs to focus on communicating and aligning people to the vision (raison d’être– reason for existence), and, on group collaboration. Offsites, informal sessions, team bonding/engagement initiatives are some of the most simple and effective ways to build connect. A robust performance management system that focuses on defined measurable goals and clear tangible output followed by regular monthly or quarterly reviews will go a long way in ensuring that there is accountability and direction within the team, with focus on output. Having squad goals instead of individual goals is also a great way to promote collaboration. Many organisations link values and behaviours to individual goals to communicate the seriousness of showcasing the right behaviours. These however will only augment if the team is connected and aligned to the larger mission at the conscious as well as the subconscious level.

 

In the 1960s, when NASA announced the ‘Man on Moon’ mission, all the other ministries like Education, Defence etc. started diverting their savings to NASA to help them achieve the American dream of putting the first man on moon. This was a great case study for the world to see how small units gave up their individual interests to support another unit for a mission that was bigger than each of them. An American man on moon took precedence and everyone was willing to let go a piece of themselves to contribute to the larger mission.

 

Anuj can take leaf from this and focus on the bigger mission rather than input metrics like working hours, team support etc. Discipline and boundarylessness cannot be enforced, it is a feeling that comes from within when one internalizes. Process control, attendance tracking is passé. With millennials contributing to 75% of the workforce, it is even more important to show them meaning and value in work combined with fun and connect at work to help the team and the company get the best of both worlds.

Rohit Hasteer is the Group CHRO for Housing.com, PropTiger.com and Makaan.com. He has an experience of more than 20 years in the domain on Compensation Benefits, Talent Acquisition and Talent Management, Training & Development. He has worked with companies like CITIBANK, MakeMyTrip, Aviva Life Insurance and UT WorldWide. He takes keen interest in building Organisation culture and People Development. He is an MBA from IMT, Ghaziabad.

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