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January 20, 2014

Earlier this month, I requested Nik to guest-blog for me and he kindly agreed to reproduce an HBR blogpost he had written. I found the points around consistency and connecting it with other relevant data, very relevant. Even in my career, I have seen these becoming the major contributors to lack of Talent Insight.

Talent IntelligenceNik Kinley & Shlomo Ben-Hur

Big data is all the rage in HR recently. But more immediately promising is the talk of small data — of more effectively managing the data we already have before we start thinking about analyzing more complex datasets.  And nowhere is this more pertinent than with talent assessment data. For here, sitting right under organisations’ noses, is a huge, easy, and yet almost always overlooked opportunity to fundamentally transform the impact of their talent management.

Every year, companies spend in excess of US$3 billion on talent assessment – on trying to identify the right person to hire, promote, or select for talent-development programs. Companies do this in all sorts of way, generating all manner of data about which candidates are the best or most suited to a particular position. And this is just fine.

The problem, however, is that most stop right there, only ever using their assessment results to inform decisions on individuals. Too many firms, then, are missing the opportunity to start using their aggregate assessment data for something more ambitious. Because when you build and use your talent intelligence effectively, development processes can be targeted, recruitment processes can be adjusted to bring in certain types of talent, and retention processes can be better aimed at specific talent populations. This may sound complex and difficult, but it need not be.

For an example of just how much you can achieve relatively simply, consider a large, global company we recently worked with. We were able to transform their selection processes by performing just three, simple analyses using no more than a simple spreadsheet:

  • We compared the average competency ratings of new hires with those of current employees. We found that the new hires had an uncannily similar pattern of strengths and weaknesses to the current employees. This kick-started a debate in the business about whether it was “just employing clones,” which in turn led to further changes in hiring practices.
  • We compared the qualities distinguishing high-potentials with those actually being promoted.   On the one hand, we found that those labelled high-potential were more outgoing, showed greater entrepreneurial spirit, and were generally rated by their managers as performing more highly. This was certainly reassuring to the business, as it was trying to adopt a faster-paced and more edgy approach. But when we looked at promotion processes, we found that the people being selected were those who performed well but were viewed as team players. As a result, new criteria for promotion were developed.
  • Finally, we looked at the average competency profiles of the various groups measured to identify capability gaps and fed the findings into the learning and development functions. As a result, specific development programs were created to address key competency weaknesses in particular groups of employees. The measurement data thus enabled better targeting of learning investment.

These were all simple steps, accomplished with simple data and without resorting to expensive systems.  More broadly, to put yourself into a position to turn your talent data into talent intelligence requires three commonsense steps:

Collect it. Collection should be centralized and include all your talent-measurement data– interview ratings, psychometric scores, competency ratings. It may be possible to use an HR IT system to do this, but a large spread-sheet will do, as well. The centrality of the database is key here, because without central collection, businesses cannot build up a picture of the talent across the organization. Talent data is a valuable resource and it should be managed as such.

Make it consistent.  By “consistent” we mean, make sure that as far as possible you’re collecting the same data for everyone’. For example, if you measure one person’s intelligence and another’s personality, bringing the two pieces of information together will not tell you much. But if you know the personalities of both people, then you can compare them. And if you collect these data consistently for enough people, you can compare individuals to the average profiles of a group, or you can compare the qualities of different groups. It is therefore critical that as far as possible you know the same information about different employees. Without this, meaningful talent analytics is simply not possible.

Connect it. Just collecting the data isn’t enough; you then need to do something with it. The critical step here is to connect it with other types of data. For example, knowing the average competency ratings of new hires can be useful. Yet if you can then connect this to individuals’ annual appraisal performance ratings after they have joined, you can see which competencies are most predictive of initial success. And if you can connect it to records of who is subsequently promoted then you can see which competencies are most valued in the business. It is only through connecting assessment data with other types of information such as these, that its full value can be realised.

Succession plans and talent pools and managing talent “on demand” may get all the headlines and be genuinely good and desirable.  But none of it stands a chance of making any real difference unless it is built upon good talent intelligence. And for that, a few simple steps can go a long, long way.


Nik Kinley is a London-based Director and Head of Talent Strategy for the global Talent Management consultancy YSC, whose prior roles include Global Head of Assessment & Coaching for the BP Group and Head of Learning for Barclays GRBF. He has specialized in the fields of measurement and behaviour change for over twenty years, and in this time has worked with CEOs, factory-floor workers, life-sentence prisoners, government officials and children.

Shlomo Ben-Hur is an organizational psychologist and Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour at the IMD business school in Switzerland. He has more than 20 years of corporate experience in senior executive positions including Vice President of Leadership Development and Learning for the BP Group, and Chief Learning Officer for DaimlerChrysler Services.

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The Future of HR and Talent Management – the next 5 years

January 12, 2014

Pushing HR

 The HR function is at an inflection point and I believe that in the next 5 years we will see significant transformation of the function. There are some key trends that will influence this transformation.

For the first time in history, talent scarcity is a global phenomenon. Across the developed and emerging markets there will be a shortage of skilled and appropriate talent. The VUCA world makes for a demanding environment for leadership and decision-making. Organizational survival has never depended so much on dynamism and rapid reaction times, all demanding human intervention and decision-making. Social media and the talent scarcity is enabling global mobility of talent. At the same time, the reconceptualization of HR function has created a need for new skills. Here are my thoughts.

Here’s how I believe HR will evolve to respond to these challenges:

1. Redefining talent: From the manager (or one level below) upwards, every employee becomes valuable. The percentage of employees an organization would need to ring-fence and ensure succession for, will increase. Even more important the value of the steady performer will increase manifold and will carry greater value than ever before. This will start with bell curves being redefined but, it will mark the beginning of the end of the bell curves. Aside from the bottom 10-15%, every employee will be considered vital for retention. This will create a GlobalTalentstrain on understaffed HR functions and old-world processes. By necessity, demanding a new way of managing employee development.

2. Diversity: The Talent gap is going to accelerate the movement for greater focus on diversity. The importance of women as 50% of the population and thereby, the workforce will be amplified. The focus on employing the differently abled, will gather momentum.  HR and leadership will have to get comfortable with this, as well as empower this movement. We will see organizations taking decisions on talent that delay the gratification of an immediate or accurate fit, in favour of “doing the right thing” but also ensuring sustainability. Diveristy will cease to be a flavour and will become a competitive differentiator.

3. Training gets redefined to capability development: The measure will move (and has already begun) from training days to acquisition of capability. The function will be held accountable for ensuring development of capability, which will necessitate a shift in deployment. The 70:20:10 principle will start being implemented in spirit. I believe that something I have long awaited i.e backward integration in the services industry will begin to become a reality with organizations beginning to play an active role in owning development of entry-level talent by taking ownership of the education space. I am hoping to see IT companies buying or setting up engineering colleges, defining curriculum and turning out employment ready graduates. Just the way steel and power companies are buying into coal-mines.
4. Talent acquisition becomes global: The scarcity will mean, organizations will have to cast a wider net for talent and take the search to the source. As a result, there will be a greater need to ensure consistency and standardization in hiring processes and criteria; especially to establish role & culture fit. This will drive process change. Reliance on global 3rd party assessment firms will increase. The value they bring will be: global benchmarks across roles, standardized assessment and selection methods, a consistent lens to assess diverse individuals. Assessment at hiring and promotion will become the norm.

The HR function will need to bolster their budgets to support this. The long-term savings in terms of lower attrition, greater efficiencies and more engaged employees will offset these costs. However this will not be evident in a majority of the organizations due to lack of adequate HR effectiveness measurement systems.

5. Global Talent Management: Organizations will move away from federal/regional/local talent management structures. Talent will become a global priority and will be managed centrally. Organizations will want to and NEED to have a collective view of the talent that is available to them globally and develop processes that will support and facilitate movement of talent across businesses, locations and regions. This will further increase the global mobility of talent. The world will be truly flat…and equal!

The new challenge will be to work with regulators and government to co-create employment laws and visa regulations that enable this. In the recent past we have seen more and more nations closing doors and making talent mobility more difficult.
6. Performance management: There is enough research that now proves the inefficacy of a pay for performance process beyond a certain threshold – here’s Daniel Pink’s MUST WATCH insightful take on the subject. Gen Y, with their different value systems and a more enlightened employees base will drive a change in performance Talent Manegementmanagement. The carrot and stick, the “If you make me rich, I’ll make you rich” paradigm will die a death across most contexts. Financial reward mechanisms will be questioned and modified. Organizations will develop processes that help elicit and integrate personal aspirations to organizational objectives. While performance conversations will continue to be relevant for coaching and development, purpose and meaning conversations will become increasingly important for employee engagement, retention and leveraging entrepreneurial spirit internally. The employment contract will shift from quid-pro-quo to mutuality and partnership. 
7. Talent Acquisition becomes Talent Resourcing: The fact that talent is spread globally or across locations. The fact that acquiring talent will become more difficult. The fact that cultural fit will become a greater challenge (read about Gen Y). Will mean that organizations will need to get better at identifying talent within. The outward looking Talent Acquisition function will metamorphose into a Talent Resourcing function. Look within before you search outside, will be the new mantra.
8. Analytics and accountability: HR is the last frontier. Every other function in an organization has evolved to a level where their contribution and RoI is directly measurable. HR is now, the last remaining function that is not measured with the same rigour. With the advances in big data and analytics, we will see this change. For the better. This will help organizations realize the value that HR adds. It will enable HR to get what they always clamour for “the seat at the table”. At the same time, it will expose the gaps in the function and will demand greater accountability for impact. This will demand HR leadership of a new order, which leads on to my last point.
9. HR Skills: The last decade has seen the rapid adoption of HR outsourcing and HR shared services. As a result a large proportion of the transactional and operational content of the function has been externalised. the HR business partner role has come into being. And with policies, operations and process being largely outsourced, HR professionals are being called upon to be consultative and business focused more than ever before. What can be standardized is outsourced. What is left behind is bespoke and specialized. This is rendering a lot of the earlier operational and policy oriented HR professionals irrelevant. The HR function will need to reorient around a new set of skills if they are to be relevant and effective in the new world.
10. The HR Head:One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and One Ring to bind themGiven all of the above, what is demanded of the HR head is a tectonic shift. The HR head One ringneeds to move from being a service provider to change driver. The skills and competencies that are required of an HR head will change, as a result. The largest challenge organizations will face, will be to find and appoint HR heads who have the ability to be supportive yet confrontational. This will require an ecosystem change in that B-schools will need to reset curriculum and pedagogy. Organizations will need to pay special attention to hiring and developing HR professionals. And this change will be driven by the triumvirate of CEOs+HR heads+B-schools. But more than anyone else, it is the visionary HR head of today, who needs to ensure the development and appointment of the HR Head of tomorrow. The King is dead, long live the King.
I’d love to hear what you think. I believe the future is unpredictable enough that it needs collective wisdom. Please leave your thoughts and insights as comments. I promise to respond. Future
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Coaching Demystified – What does it take to be a good coach?

September 11, 2013

Of all my posts on coaching, this is probably the most critical. With many people aspiring to become coaches and many training companies offering coaching programs, this is a critical question to address.

Will attending a coaching training make you a good coach? No. Can everyone who aspires to be a coach become one? No.

What then is the key requirement? What does it take to be a good coach? I can sum it up in two words: Life experience.

Attending a certification program and acquiring a certificate do NOT necessarily make you an effective coach.

In my opinion, the primary characteristics an individual needs to possess (which outrank any skill, by the way) are:

  • Humility
  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Sensitivity
  • Intuition
  • Asssertiveness
  • Ego strength
  • Self assurance
  • Comfort with being vulnerable

The skills required are:

Effective listeninglistening to the unsaid, picking up nuances and listening beyond what is portrayed are key.

Advanced Questioning skillsProbing deeply, asking questions that will inspire and provoke, also questions that will lead to greater clarity.

Ability to challenge, be tough and push-backcoaches don’t just question or listen, they also challenge, provoke and push-back. Coaches need to be soft and supporting but also tough and demanding. If you feel you can’t play the range, you should reconsider your desire to become a coach. This also demands the coach to be extremely sensitive to what is required in THAT moment.

Maintaining silencetoo many coaches think they need to be be active to be doing something in order to have an impact. Maintaining silence is a powerful tool and once the silence passes beyond discomfort it generally results in the coachee opening up with something that is deep and powerful. 

According to @oMissJallmond One of the most imp things in coach training is learning to ask the right questions, listen,develop rapport.

In coaching the question can be more life altering says @tanvi_gautam

@nohrgyan Puts it very well when she says A good coach is in touch with own emotions & intuition. Knowing when to ask a q, when to confront and when to hold silence

Hopefully, you’ve read the previous 3 posts on this series of blogs on coaching. If you haven’t, here they are:

Post 1:

Post 2:

Post 3:

The final blogpost in the series will talk about :

5. What are the various types of coaching? And how are they different?

Hope you are enjoying the series!

You can follow me on twitter @joyandlife and find me on LinkedIn

Please ensure you take a look at

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Coaching demystified – When should Coaching NOT be used?

August 27, 2013

Leading on from the previous 2 blogposts where I addressed the following questions:

Why should organizations pay attention to coaching as a tool for L&D?

The difference between coaching and mentoring

This post focuses on talking about situation when it is inappropriate to use Coaching as a tool. Like all developmental inputs, Coaching too has a particular context in which it can be useful and others in which it must not be attempted.

The simplest guideline is to ensure that coaching is not used for skill-building or knowledge-transfer. Mentoring, education, training are better inputs.

Coaching should also NOT be used for Remedial purposes. Asking a coach to step in to help “change” the rigid, inflexible head of finance into a more amenable person is also not an appropriate coaching assignment. It might work. But the chances of failure are high. Honestly, if 25 years of feedback from colleagues, bosses, friends and HR have not switched his light on, I doubt a coach can do much.

The maximum value is derived from coaching high potential individuals in order to help them develop that potential into tangible and consistent performance. As a Leader, that’s the best path you can choose.


Mansoor puts it well when he says “Coaching outcomes should B linked 2 business success. Don’t coach if U don’t have measures around coaching behavior” @_mansoor1 and Jaya endorses a similar sentiment when she says “Coaching should not be used when the goals are short term and shallow for the organization and individual” @nohrgyan

@Namrata_Kum says “Coaching should not be used in a fire fighting scenario, or made compulsory for an employee against his readiness/will”, to which @SujitSumitran adds “Coaching should not be used to fix the leaders agenda” and you’d be surprised how often that can happen. @sonaliramaiah seems to agree when she says “Coaching may not work wen there is an agenda involved. Managers usually cannot separate themselves from this.”
What @tanvi_gautam says is so true today – “Do not use Coaching because a competitor is using it !” and @RajeshMTHRG nails it by asserting “Don’t use coaching as a ‘best practice‘ for heaven’s sake!”
One of my favourite quotes comes from @SangitaSri “When goals are defined, appoint mentors. When goals are unknown, appoint coaches.” I tend to agree.
Many times, the cause and effect between a behaviour and the developmental action required to correct it, are not known. I refer once again, to the Sachin Tendulkar example I used in my earlier blogpost, about him not knowing what it is that affects his game when he’s near a significant landmark. In such instances, a coach will help navigate the unknown and lead the protege to greater clarity around cause and effect. When this achieved, the organization and the protege can focus on the actual cause and enable long-lasting change.

The questions that will come up in subsequent blogposts are:

4. What does it take to be a good coach ?

5. What is an ideal coaching candidate like ?

6. What are the challenges of establishing a successful coaching culture in a firm ?

Hope you are enjoying the series!

You can follow me on twitter @joyandlife and find me on LinkedIn

Please ensure you take a look at

And do leave a comment on your experiences with when coaching works and when it doesn’t.

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Coaching Demystified – The difference between coaching and mentoring

August 25, 2013

Continuing on from the previous blogpost on coaching, where I addressed the question “Why should organizations pay attention to coaching as a tool for L&D?“, this second post seeks to clarify the difference between Coaching and Mentoring. And it continues to curate and log the discussion around coaching which was held on #indiahrchat in July, which is a forum promoted by @tanvi_gautam

Thanks to CartoonStock.comIn very simple terms, Mentoring is a process where a more experienced person (not necessarily older) is tasked with teaching a protege. It involves transfer of knowledge and skills and can be directive and educational in nature. For example, a veteran might take a rising star under his wing, in order to teach him all she knows about navigating the organizational pitfalls in order to develop his career. This would be a mentoring relationship.

Coaching, is less directive and relies on enabling the protege to find his own way. The role of the coach is to provoke, inspire, challenge, question in order to defog the landscape and help the protege achieve greater clarity, whereupon s/he is independently able to find a solution. Coaching is also helpful in areas that are harder to define and are not always skills related. For example, Sachin Tendulkar might benefit from a coaching conversation that helps him understand why he tends to lose his way whenever he is close to a major landmark.

I found the following interesting:

Mentors: Tell him all you know.

Coaches: Ask him what stops him? What is unclear? What would he like to do?

Coaches will more often follow a more Socratic process than mentors.

@qEdisonPeres4 Puts it very well when he says “Coaching is performance driven , Mentoring is development driven”

Mentors guide, while coaches create spaces to think, says @SujitSumitran

@sonaliramaiah rightly says that Coaching is for behaviours and mentoring is for skills and knowledge

@Meetasengupta opens up a new dimension when she says “Coaching is about support, less about influence. A mentor uses the power of influence too”

I personally believe that sometimes the lines between coaching and mentoring can blur, but more so for mentors than coaches. This is primarily because the essence of coaching is to ensure that the protege doesn’t develop a dependency on the coach. Coaches do not operate from a hierarchical assumption that they know more than the protege. In many instances a coach may not be as skilled as the protege, which is very different from mentorship, where the mentor is expected to know more!

In a later blogpost we will discuss the specific skills that a coach requires, which will be more illustrative of the challenges that coaches face.

The questions that will come up in subsequent blogposts are:

3. When should coaching not be used ?

4. What does it take to be a good coach ?

5. What is an ideal coaching candidate like ?

6. What are the challenges of establishing a successful coaching culture in a firm ?

You can follow me on twitter @joyandlife and find me on LinkedIn

Please leave your comments about how you see the differences between coaching and mentoring.

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Coaching Demystified – The what, when, why and why not

August 22, 2013

A few weeks ago I was privileged to be a guest on the #indiahrchat forum on Twitter, which is run by @tanvi_gautam, on the subject of coaching. It was a very rich discussion that led to a lot of insights on coaching, around the following questions:

1. Why should organizations pay attention to coaching as a tool for L&D ?

2. What is the difference between coaching and mentoring ? Which one should be used when ?

3. When should coaching not be used ?

4. What does it take to be a good coach ? 

5. What is an ideal coaching candidate like ?

6. What are the challenges of establishing a successful coaching culture in a firm ?

I realized that there was tremendous interest on the subject and decided to document some of the key messages and learning highlights so that they are available to the HR/OD and Leadership community at large for future reference.

In this first blogpost of the series, I will address the first question viz. Why should organizations pay attention to Coaching as a tool for Learning and Development?

Context: The world as we know it, has changed. It has moved from a predictable, straight-line, definable state into a highly dynamic state. And this state is going to stay. The new world, as we know it is going to be volatile and unpredictable. Perhaps the best definition of this state is rendered by the term VUCA, a term that was coined by the military and stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. And the armed forces in general can’t manage VUCA, since they are a command and control, define the environment and respond mechanism. They created the SAS, Marine Corps and other similar specialist divisions to manage VUCA situations.

In a VUCA world, the ability of any one leader to manage this level of complexity and turmoil is limited. As a result known and standard methods of development tend to be challenged. And one clear development mechanism that emerges head and shoulders above others is, Coaching.

Uncertain times call for personalized support for leaders. No one person has all the answers. A coach helps provide insight and open up new dimensions that the individual may not have considered.

The primary advantage of Coaching over other traditional forms of L&D, is that coaching is personalized. Hence, it is bespoke and customized to the specific development needs of an individual.

Here are some insightful tweets that highlight the impact of coaching:

Learning is social. Coaching is the oldest form of social learning from @sundertrg – The oldest training methods come to us from the apprenticeship process where older, maturer experts adopted apprentices and transferred both skills and attitudes for success. Metalsmiths, Swords instructors and Tutors were the oldest forms of coaches. Drona comes to mind. As does Aristotle as the coach to Alexander the Great. And how can we forget the mythical coaching moment on the battlefield between Krishna and Arjuna, where Krishna enabled Arjuna to see a perspective he had not considered. Not only did Krishna, Drona and Aristotle impart education, but they questioned, challenged, provoked and inspired their proteges.

Aristotle tutoring Alexander

Aristotle tutoring Alexander (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because different individuals have different learning styles from @rajeshMTHRG who speaks to the bespoke and individualized nature of coaching.

Coaching takes the baton where training leaves it! Coaching complements training and induces behavioral change says @tnvora who helps illustrate the value that a personal coach can bring in ensuring that the coachee/protege confronts her challenges and demonstrates lasting behavioural change. A sentiment that is echoed by @justcoachit when she says  Sticky training means having collateral support, coaching that is aligned with training initiatives

And @sujitsumitran illustrates the role of provocation and challenge in coaching when he says that Coaching goes where the coachee hasn’t gone before

@meetasengupta highlights the supportive and partnering role a coach can play in what can be a lonely and difficult journey when she says that Coaching is about creating a journey of professional growth with a trusted partner

All in all, while training is designed for a cohort and addresses general learning needs, coaching is specific to the development needs of an individual. It is targeted at preparing the individual for a role or objective and is an intimate process where the coach partners the individual in order to help attain success.

Including coaching as a development tool for specific high performers or key executives/managers will enable L&D professionals to enhance the developmental impact they can demonstrate.

YSC recently partnered with SKM and Dr. Anthony Grant at Sydney University to evaluate the impact of YSC’s coaching on a global cohort of executive and senior managers. The Results were compelling and the study demonstrated that Executive Coaching in times of Organizational change has significant business and personal benefits. For the results, click here.

Research by Bersin and Associates demonstrates “that senior leaders who coach, develop and hold others accountable for coaching and development are three times more effective at producing improved business and talent results than those who do not.”

I would love to hear your stories and anecdotes of the impact of coaching in your organizations. Please leave a comment, so that we all can have access to your experiences and maybe reach out to you for more! Thanks!

My next blogpost will focus on answering What is the difference between coaching and mentoring ? Which one should be used when?

You can follow me on Twitter @joyandlife

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Leading Infosys into the future

June 1, 2013
Narayana Murthy, Chairman, Infosys, at the Hor...

Narayana Murthy, Founder, Infosys

Narayana Murthy returns to Infosys. Narayana Murthy’s return hailed by leaders of the IT industry.

In creating the powerhouse that became Infosys, Mr. Murthy demonstrated an ability to recognize what the market needed and put together a strategy that leveraged those conditions. He has to do the same thing today, in a very different scenario. 1. The world economy and the IT industry are not the same. 2. Infosys is not a startup but a behemoth trapped by its own character& design (much like IBM in the 90s)

As he steps into this role, the first bit of advice Narayana Murthy can heed is from Albert Einstein who said “You cannot solve a problem with the same mindset that created it”. And indeed that is what he needs to achieve: Help Infosys develop a new mindset about doing business.

The critical change required at Infy is new thinking: diversity of thought and leadership, risk taking and experimentation. And these need to begin at the top. Let’s take a look at the composition of the executive leadership team. For a global organization, you have one non-Indian leader. A pre-dominance of South Indians on the executive committee. And 1 woman. While it may not be conscious, there is certainly an unconscious selection going on here. Which could indicate the lack of a conscious focus on what will the future look like and hence, what leadership qualities and mix do we require?

When he speaks on Strategy, Prof. Ranjan Das of IIM-Calcutta, speaks more about Talent than about strategy. He asserts that strategy is an outcome of the quality of leaders who devise it. And he encourages organizations to map their leaders’ achievements and strategic ability against the best in class. Your marketing strategy will only be as brilliant as your Chief Marketing Officer, he says.

The best service that Mr. Murthy can provide for Infy is to re-staff the leadership team that runs the organizationand he must do this within 18 months. Bringing in outsiders is fraught with risk; there is enough research that indicates how often this fails. However, I believe that Infosys already has many diamonds in the rough, who are not noticed because they don’t “fit the mould”. This outdated and now irrelevant mould must now be discarded and a new one reconstituted.

Finding radical thinkers, explorers, pioneers, experimenters is critical. Giving a voice to the larger organization via processes like

English: Wordmark of Infosys

English: Wordmark of Infosys (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vision Communities will help throw up strategic/business ideas and pinpoint fresh thinkers from within the organization. Developing a more dynamic and inclusive leadership concept for the future, will ensure this is not repeated. Leading a redesigned talent assessment and identification process, rapidly bringing younger leaders up the ranks and restaffing the leadership team and board are the need of the hour.

All strategic thinking is an outcome of the quality of the thinkers, their alignment with each other, driven by a common purpose and objective. As soon as you ensure the right set of drivers on the bus, the direction (aka strategy) will begin to fall into place.

And in doing this, Mr. Murthy will need to get his hands dirty. A consultative approach will not work. Being nice will not work. He will need to place the greater good above individuals. And he will need to respect the needs of the future to pick a leader who will renew Infy and lead it into the next orbit. He can be aided and supported on this journey if the current leadership team realizes this and with humility seeks to support him in making this happen, even if it means a significant change for themselves.

Will he, or won’t he? Will they or won’t they? Time will tell. And in these times, rather quickly.

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