Jennifer Anniston (from Horrible Bosses). Would you choose to work with her?

Jennifer Anniston played an amazing role when she sexually harassed her assistant in the movie “Horrible Bosses”, but unfortunately, things are not so explicit in real life. Neither are the inspirational speeches that Jon Hamm gave while motivating his team in Million Dollar Arm.

However, these movies taught me how to decode the success formula of high performing teams of 2016:

  1. No employee harassment
  2. Respect to all employees
  3. Safe environment for employees

These 3 components are independent of each other, but are required in totality to achieve the amazing results by amazing teams.

What does NO employee harassment mean? It means no physical or emotional harassment. Emotional harassment (incl. bullying) is often ignored in the workplaces. According to a latest survey, 27% employees have experienced workplace harassment in the past. But the problem doesn’t stop here. Does this survey mean that the remaining 73% were treated with respect? Think again!

So what does employee respect mean? It means a lot of things (beyond no harassment). Below is just an indicative list:

  • Treat people with courtesy, politeness, and kindness.
  • Encourage coworkers to express opinions and ideas.
  • Use people’s ideas to change or improve work. Let employees know you used their idea, or, better yet, encourage the person with the idea to implement the idea.
  • Do not nit-pick, constantly criticize over little things, belittle, judge, demean or patronize. A series of seemingly trivial actions, added up over time, constitutes bullying.
  • Be aware of your body language, the tone of voice, and your demeanor and expression in all of your interactions at work. People, who are radar machines, are hearing what you’re really saying in addition to listening to your words.

So where do you stand on the above points?

Finally, what is a safe environment? Beyond respect, it means providing an environment to make mistakes and learn from them. It is an environment where your intrapreneurs thrive and bring your company to the next level. It is the environment where a fresh graduate employee can tell the country CEO that there is a change needed in the strategy. This is the hardest of all, but you need this to be successful. What have you done to achieve this so far?

Not sure if you are lucky enough to have Jennifer Anniston as your boss, if not, don’t forget to try out these simple 3 tricks before you get wiped out from the market.


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P.S.: Thanks to Able Cheong for sharing his insights on this topic.


Monkey in your office vs Taylor Swift’s legs

I am not a pop culture fan, but I am quite surprised that people are concerned about Taylor Swift’s legs. I am sure a few are genuinely interested, others are just the prey of “Monkey see, monkey do” culture. A lot of us are suffering from this – “monkey syndrome” in our social lives too.

In our workplace, we all need to be cautious about leaders suffering from this monkey syndrome. These leaders are dangerous not just to you, but also to your organization’s success. Below are 3 things these monkeys often say and why it needs to be relooked:

  • “If I can do it, why can’t you do it” – There are a lot of reasons why some of the young employees can’t replicate the behaviors of their leaders. It could be their personality, their priorities or just their natural inclination. Just like employees have the responsibility of doing certain things in certain ways, leaders are responsible for uncovering the concerns and capability gaps of their teams and taking necessary actions. So next time you spot a monkey saying this, politely respond by “I can dance in a loud club all night, can you do that?!!”
  • “That’s not the way we do things around here” – Monkey tribes have their own culture. They train all new monkeys to follow that and that’s how they have stopped learning. Similarly, some leaders are worried about losing their organization culture and choose to blatantly push it to their employees. They forget that it is the responsibility of the leaders to explain the rationale. So next time you spot a monkey saying this, politely respond by “We just missed an opportunity of our collective development”
  • “………………………………. – that’s not a typo. Monkeys are scared of pointed things. Similarly, some leaders hide away when they are questioned about specific things. Instead of talking to you, they hide and tell others. This is where the leadership gossip culture starts and it ends with someone’s resignation. So assure your leader that you want to explore the solution together with him/her.


This monkey syndrome is contagious. If you spot too many monkeys around you in your office, run as fast as you can. If you don’t run away, very soon, someone else might be thinking of you while reading this post.

And by the way, don’t forget to check out the insurance policy on Taylor Swift’s legs. I bet you will be learn something new from that too!!!

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Your dog is indispensable, but you are not!

We all have heard a few times in our offices and management discussions, “No one is indispensable”. We all are made to believe this. I believed that too for a long time, until I saw someone cry for losing his dog. Why can’t he replace his dog with a new dog? There are so many dogs available out there. Can’t we use the same management theory here?

I explored further, and I learnt a very important lesson of modern business – “Everyone is indispensable“. I also realized that we all need to rewrite/relearn some of the management principles to be successful:

  • ‘Fluid’ is the word in 21st century organizational structure: The concept of organization structures was made popular by military and factory operations. However, it is not the same anymore. In the modern people-driven businesses, every 2 individuals are different. You can (almost) never replace a top management person with another who has same thought processes, ideas and management style. So it is time to tell your top management, they are indispensable and customize the structure based on the people, not the other way round.
  • Knowledge is your key differentiation: A lot of information about your clients, relationships, and understanding of your culture resides with your middle management. None of your IT databases can replace the human touch of your middle management. If you lose your middle management, you will lose your past and will have difficulties building your future. So tell your middle management, they are indispensable.
  • Disruption (intrapreneurship) is the new order: Your organization has a strong bunch of young intrapreneurs, who might be just out of college but they can possibly kick the ass of your competitors when given a chance. Treat them with love and respect. Tell these younger ones that they are indispensable before they join your competitors to kick your ass.


It doesn’t matter who you are in the organization, it is important that you tell others that they are indispensable. If not, very soon you will lose your loving dog and you may end up training new dogs for the rest of your lives.

Animals don’t have personality types, they have ringmasters!

‘Jurrasic World’ made more than a billion dollars. A lot of us “wasted” our money on the movie. I call it wasted because the key management fundamental that is used in the movie is rarely found in corporate world – Your ringmaster will try to understand your personality.

Let me elaborate.

A lot of companies are using a plethora of personality assessment tests while hiring candidates (Fortune 500 companies and banks are front-runners in this). It has become the so-called “best practice”. But are they doing it right?

  • Do these companies actually use personality assessment results for day-to-day work planning?
  • Do the leaders anticipate and value different reactions, responses and comments from employees with different personalities?
  • Why employees in most companies are forced to align with the leaders’ personality type? When employees fail to align, they are often rated as “poor performers”.

In Jurrasic Park, Chris Pratt (as Owen in the movie), did spend the time to understand the personality types of dinosaurs and reacted to situations to suit them. That’s what a good ringmaster does. What about you and your leaders?


Thanks to “Jurassic World” movie, people may have started thinking that animals also possibly have personality types. But I think we need another movie to make some of the leaders understand that humans have the personality types too! Hope Colin Trevorrow (Director of Jurassic World) is listening.

New breed of lion is about to attack organizations

I have never been to a real circus, but I can imagine it is not very different from the corporate world and management frameworks. Any mistake can lead to death.

In the last few months, all people management professionals are dancing around the fresh breed of lion called performance management. The top management of every company is looking at management consultants to get some advice on how to tame this new lion. Some Fortune 500 companies have successfully revamped the entire performance management system. However, silently they are wondering if they are doing it right? Or will they get what trainer Faten El-Helw got from her trained lion (for those who don’t know, Ms. El-Helw lost her life to a lion she trained for years)?

I don’t claim that I master lion taming, but I do know that most of us are not using performance management the right way. So here are some insights to spark your thinking:

  • When your performance is bad, your management should share the blame: All management theories claim that 70% of the performance of an individual is driven by the organization factors and the individual can impact only 30%. Therefore, the management should take the onus of your poor performance. They should also be penalized because they didn’t help you do well in your job.
  • When your performance is good, your family should share the celebration: Your family has to make sacrifices every day too. Your kids and your spouse may not have told you, but they miss you every evening. Did your company decide to give you time off to help you spend quality time with your family? Did the company write a note to your family thanking them for their contribution to the company? Or did they pay you some peanuts (called “bonus”) to forget about your family and keep ignoring them every day?
  • When your performance is average, you are likely to be at fault: You are probably suffering from a disease called “being content with job”. Are you sure that a new technology will not wipe off your job soon. Start innovating before your boss invites you to her office for an “important private session” to thank you for your last contribution in her office.

Keep your eyes wide open to avoid being attacked by the lion. Most of the lion tamers died because they lost attention for a split second. Will your company make this mistake too?