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Mr Srinivas is a Co-founder and Director at Master Mentors Advisory Pvt Ltd, a Premier Consulting Organisation. He has 20 years post educational experience in leading Indian and MNC organisations.

Thursday, 21 June 2012


               Habit is what we repeatedly do and is what truly defines our capability to perform.
               Positive attitude and Good habits of the employees are invariably the reason behind
               the performance of Great Organizations..

In today’s world, if anything is in shortage it is Quality manpower!!. This is especially true in large population especially from countries with diversity like India!!. Sounds contradictory, the more there are people to recruit from, the tougher it is to choose the right kind!!.

Each employee brings 4 distinct characteristics to an organisation – Knowledge, Skills, Attitude and Habit.

Knowledge – How to do things
Sills – How well to do things
Attitude – How the employee comes across to others while carrying out his tasks
Habit- How he normally does things, repeatedly and consistently without any effort.

While most of the organizations focus on selecting employees based on the knowledge and the skills they possess, successful companies differentiate themselves by focussing not only on the Knowledge and Skills possessed by their employees which are more defined by the left side of the brain, but also on those soft aspects of the personality that are defined by the right side of the brain, namely the Attitude and the Habits.
Knowledge is sum total of learning, theoretical and practical, that an individual acquires over a period of time and is a building block for the competence and success of a person in his career and corporate life. Knowledge of the subject, environment, general matter etc form the building blocks for the ability to understand, internalise and deliver on the performance objectives.
Skills are those capabilities and competencies that are gained through experience and learnt through practice. Technical skills, Communication skills, Analytical skills, Presentation skills are some such skills that will help the employees in their communication and delivery of performance.
While K&S are important, the ability to put them to use is defined by the Attitude of the professionals who possess them.
Attitude is the outlook and a perspective that an individual develops that will help the individual in leveraging his knowledge and skills and perform in the work place.
Attitude determines the Attitude…Anonymous
A negative attitude will result in the professional not only unable to deliver his performance but also come in the way of those around and the organisation overall as a cascading effect. While a positive attitude will help the individuals to galvanise themselves and those around to give their best and try to maximise the performance.
Habits are those aspects of our behaviour that reflect what we do repeatedly and believe deep within.  Successful Organizations want winning to be their habit. Success is a product of doing the right and desirable things repeatedly. This happens when the employees are habituated to work hard, work smart, work systematically and perform consistently.

Successful organizations realise that it is the negative attitudes and wrong habits of the employees are mostly the reasons behind the failures and not lack of knowledge or skills.
Training programs at successful organizations are focussed on improving all the four aspects of the employees and fine tuning them to enable the employees develop a healthy attitude and get habituated with desirable traits by the use of various forms of motivation and reward systems, apart from a periodic assessment and up-gradation of knowledge and skills.

When the older companies were set up, the workforce – both “labour” and “management” were from similar socio economic backgrounds. An employee is slotted as manager or managed based on his/her education/knowledge and skills alone as the attitude and habits were more similar than diverse. Hence culture got built more easily in older companies in the yester years. It is more difficult today.

Attitude and Habits differ based on the socio economic backgrounds of people.

Habits are usually very difficult to break and a smart organisation leverages on the habits of effective people to make it an organisation habit and later on, it becomes the culture of an organisation. A great example can be seen in Asian Paints, one of the top 10 paint companies in the world and it is totally Indian. It is Asian Paints culture to take detailed notes in all meetings whether with dealers or otherwise. The action points are clearly highlighted and the same is reviewed in the next meeting. This is a habit and now is a part of the culture of the company. The culture is one of being mindful of even the smallest detail and hence the company is just and plain efficient and therefore dominant in its operations!!
Attitude is a more individualised trait and is even more difficult to leverage on for creating a successful organisation. Asian Paints recruits over 200 fresh graduates from top management and engineering schools as trainees every year. To ensure that the individual’s attitude “gels” with the overall company’s culture without affecting his individuality, Asian Paints has  a training program for a year whereby every trainee starts off at the lowest level in the function he is assigned to. For example, a sales management trainee starts off as a salesman in one territory where he is an under study to the regular sales officer. He travels by the same conveyance and eats the same food and stays at the same hotel as the sales officer. This as is generally meant to “grinds all inflated egos to the ground” and generates an attitude to help others and understand the real “market”. Later on when the trainee manages the sales teams, he knows their issues and problems and is able to take effective decisions without any “false” attitude. Anybody who does not make the “cut” is clearly reassigned or eased out after the first round of promotions. This has created a culture of friendliness, apolitical approach that has made Asian Paints what it is today. 

Written by Srinivas M (ms@mastermentors.in) with inputs from Vembu Shivkumar
 (shivkumar@mastermentor.in) .


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