‘Over a cup of coffee’ with Dr. Soniya Yadwadkar

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We had lots of questions from our subscribers about the role, leaders play in grooming organizations and what they need to be aware of, with the changing employee base. We caught up with Dr. Soniya Yadwadkar over a cup of coffee to get her views and perspectives on how these challenges should be managed

Q. As organizations get larger, how does the goal setting exercise change and what is the role leaders play in ensuring that there is a method to the madness

Dr. Soniya: An organization without a goal is like a ship without a rudder. Goals give a direction to an organization’s activities. It makes a business to be performance-centric and prevents it from deviating from its path of success. Achieving goals gives a sense of satisfaction to the employees and stakeholders and motivates them to perform better in future. Thus, setting goals and devising ways to achieve them is critical for any business.

A goal is a statement that defines the desired outcome of all organizational activities. It is a future accomplishment towards which business is targeted. A goal serves as a constant source of motivation for the employees and invokes commitment. Setting goals is an important activity and must be given as much importance as the goal itself. Oftentimes, organizations rely on SMART criteria for defining and setting their goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound goals.

Successful leaders take on the mantle to make sure that the goal setting is done correctly and ensure that the organization is cruising along to achieve the goals set for itself.

Q. What role do leaders play in ensuring happy employees?

Dr. Soniya :“Don’t neglect the little things that can have a big impact”. This is the policy that must be followed by any organization. It’s a known fact that people get more happiness from little things and so attention should be given to the minutest of things.

According to a research from a well known and reputed Institute, happier workers help their colleagues 33% more often than unhappy employees. Happy employees also achieve their goals 31% more often and are 36% more motivated in their work.

Leaders play a very significant role in ensuring that employees are happy. It needs a focused effort and the right investments in HR initiatives.  HR teams need to come up with clear plans and initiatives to pay attention to employees’ needs, create an environment of trust, create a safe workplace.

Money is not everything. In fact, as long as their salary is sufficient to fund their lifestyle and living, a salary rise is unlikely to have a lasting effect on employee’s determination. It’s the work itself, and the opportunity for personal development from all aspects that will have a real impact on how happy an employee is at work. If they can see how they are contributing to a team and feel rewarding of that contribution, then you will have a bunch of happy employees.

Q. What role do leaders play in helping an organization get over a stagnancy phase?

Dr. Soniya : Many businesses become stagnant after a certain period. Post the initial phase of success, there comes a period where there are no upward spikes in your business graph. Successful businesses are constantly improving and innovating their products and services. Customers are always on the lookout for something better. Competition is rife and the current markets are volatile. Only the best and the dynamic businesses can survive. Improvement is the key to survive and thrive.

Leaders play a significant role in these phases. They dive in to understand the professional development that is needed across the organization as well as invests in the right growth initiatives to successfully get the organization out of the stagnancy phase.

Q. What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

Dr. Soniya : Most leaders have their focus on revenues and profitability as that is what the investors and stakeholders expect them to deliver on. Having said that, the most important asset in achieving the revenues and profitability is your people. Managing aspirations of people and getting them aligned to deliver based on the goals of the organization is very critical.

Leaders bring in their own style and experience into play. Through HR leadership teams, they implement a variety of initiatives to increase the level of engagement with relevant employees.

Q. What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

Dr. Soniya :A leader really plays several roles in an organization. But if you ask me for one characteristic that is very vital in leadership roles, then I would say that is his vision. A clear vision helps the organization sail through difficult times very easily. The vision then translates into strategies across different leadership teams within the organization. The vision allows the leader to stay on course a path, even if he has a lot of opposition from investors and stakeholders. It provides him with the conviction that is needed to sail through difficult times.

Dr. Soniya Yadwadkar is the Managing Director at CerveauSys Strategic Consulting Pvt. Ltd. She holds a Doctorate in Management Sciences and has over 22 years of professional experience in leading and implementing Strategic Business and People Management Initiatives in diverse industry segments. She is proficient in conceptualizing and implementing corporate level Strategic Business Management and HR OD initiatives such as Strategic planning, Balanced Score Card, Competency-based HR Processes and Systems, Organizational Restructuring and Cultural Transformation, Post Merger HR Integration, Organization Development and Change Management.

Across engagements, Dr. Soniya has worked closely with large companies like Alfa Laval, Sandvik, Forbes Marshall, Electronica Group and Serum Institute to name a few. Views expressed are of the author.


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