Getting the best from your staff

From my extensive management experience, I have evolved another great formula for extracting the “best solution at the least cost“.

  1. Identify a very enthusiastic person in the organisation (Every management formula always begins with this step of identifying an enthusiastic person; just like every Fairy Tale begins with “Once upon a time,”. Later, I will also give the formula for how to create an enthusiastic person). Ensure that the person has common sense and has a broad range of knowledge; the depth of knowledge is not important. This can be simplified as that the person should know a lot of jargon (Being enthusiastic and having knowledge of jargon will make sure that the person will search Google extensively to know more).
  2. Continuously keep telling this person that the most important thing in life is to be passionate. This process takes a little time. However, it is not difficult. Simple techniques include sending messages from the C-Level at regular intervals, sending sayings of great persons from HR from time to time and instructing every manager to say that “passion comes first” to his/her team (whether the manager understands the meaning of this is not important. However, after repeating himself for a few times, the manager will also become passionate). Being passionate essentially means in management terminology that the person only needs working and not bothering the management about money (specifically, salary increments and promotions).
  3. Once the product is ready (i.e. the person has become critically passionate), assign the most difficult issues in the organisation to this person one by one. Identifying the issues is not a great deal for the management. All it needs is to hire a consultancy firm to conduct an audit. The consultants in their enthusiasm will definitely produce a huge document to prove their cost. It is not important reading the document. It is important to search the page where the issues are summarised. This will be a list with bullets. Take one bullet at a time and assign to the enthusiastic (and now passionate) person. While assigning the task, make sure telling him/her that his/her job was severely criticised by the consultants and thus need fixing at the earliest.
  4. The passionate and enthusiastic person will work 24 * 7 to find solution as it has now become a matter of mere survival for him/her. It is most important to tell the person that he/she should report progress regularly. From the progress report, all that is important to note is whether the person is nearing the end of the assignment. The rest is not important.
  5. When the person is close to the solution, assign the next issue to the person. This way the formulated solution remains unresolved. So, the person is back to his drawing board. He/She will again work 24 * 7 on the new addition. (Finding out whether the person is close to the solution is very easy. The progress report should have a key part called “Completion Percentage” and the value should be a number between 0 and 100. If the value is within +/-5 of 80 means that the task is nearing closure. Digging into whether “Completion Percentage” is true reflection of the task progress is not important. If it is the true reflection, then there is no further action required. If it is established through some mechanism by anyone that the “Completion Percentage” in the progress report is inaccurate, then all needs doing is to severely reprimand the person and ask for a Governance Body to ask for more progress reports from the person. The best part of such situations is that this kind of observation can only happen during the task conduction and generally never happens at the end of the task. So, rectification methods is enough and there is no fear of post-mortem. If such observations are made after the task completion, then all needs doing is to blame either inefficiency of the Governance Body or its absence. If it is absent, it is a great opportunity to create some more high-ranking positions in the organisation).
  6. As the job remains unfinished, the person can never claim any added benefits including salary increment and promotion. A further low-cost mechanism is to give a “Certificate of Appreciation” to the person in a large gathering announcing the enormity of passion demonstrated by the person. To definitely make sure that the person does not even think of asking such questions, keep meeting him/her casually at regular intervals and telling him/her very softly with a broad smile that many people were very severely criticising his/her work and you were doing your best to protect him/her.
  7. Repeat steps 3 to 6 till the person resigns from the company or is ready for retirement.

I illustrate the formula in a flowchart form for ease of memorisation.

Solving Issues Through Passionate Persons

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

English: Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  1. A few further cues for more effectiveness of the formula.
    1. For the Audit to be more effective, it is best to invite consultants from the Third World countries. As people in these have so many issues in their daily life, they have a very natural ability for identifying issues.
    2. It does not need any skills in selecting issues from the list created by the Consultants. It is absolutely not essential finding any relation or correlation between the issues. By ignoring this exercise, it only enhances the chance of more work being done by the staff. So, the issues could be selected in a sequence from the top to the bottom or bottom to top OR at random by throwing darts. So, learning to be experts in dart is a key skill which any manager should develop.

  2. In one of my companies, when my Executive Director asked me to analyse a troubled project, I sent a report stating what were the issues and what needs doing. What happened next was that I was transferred from Bangalore to Kolkata to try and deliver the project. Moving to Kolkata meant that I was a forced bachelor again as my wife worked in Bangalore. When I started trying solving the issues, a Governance Body of heavy weights was sent from somewhere in North India. On arrival of this team, all I had time for was to answer the Governance Body’s questions and no time to work on the solution. So, the project kept drifting. Anyway, as the customer was kind, they stopped complaining to my management on my request. At this time, as it was uncertain whether our company would keep our division, I had to look for a job. After drifting along for some time, I got a new job and quit the company.

    By the way, just 1 year prior to this, I has refused a very good and high paying job as I wanted to complete a key (though low-value) project for the same customer.

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