Friday 31 October 2014

Look Beyond Recruitment Practices

Some reality bites do not really feature in the resume. If you are a live Hiring Manager, who deals with real problems, you should be able to see the person beyond his stories, his problems, make a few exceptions in policies and stay human. Get him to the interview board. Hear him out. He is probably the one. A few biases to deal with:

Startup Failure: After years of corporate experience, someone wanted to build something of his own; he put his entire savings in that dream project. Lack of experience, guidance or tenacity, regardless of the reason, dynamics of business somewhere pulled him down and he is back to job hunting. How fair is it to treat that person as failure and ignore all his past achievements in his corporate life? Would you label the candidate as immature? How fair is it to doubt his stability that he might quit to try a start up again?

Lay Off: Being laid off does not always mean performance issues. Let us get real here. It is not the average or under performers on the first list. Who do you think is high on earnings – all those resources who performed well in their initial years, got rewarded with high percentage hikes and those took more responsibilities and got promoted. So, when money is tight, any guesses what the strategy will be? Their talents and experience can build the company’s future however as they are not attached to day-to-day revenue, out they go. Only an interviewer who understands business dynamics and changing eco system can see through this and hire him.

Facing Redundancy: As Insurance is focused vertical this year the company decides to purchase an Insurance company to strengthen their portfolio of services and grow client base. You were key Insurance professional till that happened and suddenly, you are surplus. The hiring manager based on his own personal conditioning can pre suppose that you are not redundant, just incompetent. Even if the resource is exploring new territory, the Hiring Manager can still be blind to that. Remember, only the very competent can dare to go beyond their domain expertise.

Career Mistake: They offered a huge package and you were flattered. Only after you join you learn, it is not exactly your skills or industry expertise that they were interested in, as you were hardly given any responsibilities. It is not just the leads and deals that you were working from the previous company that mattered, you were given the Herculean Task to pitch to the same prospects. Yes, most of us know how difficult it is to explain people that you could not pursue the job as your Ethics and Integrity did not allow you to stoop that low.

Unemployed: If current status is unemployed, the resource has probably lost his edge. No one lives a life that has an upward graph always. Stand up and defend a profile when you think it deserves a closer look. Recruitment problems are complex. Is it a complicated pregnancy, an ailing parent, a pet project, a crash course, travel – Does that justify the unemployment? He is just a call away anyways. Listen. Never Assume.

It is your personal choice whether you want to be human or be driven by a set of blanket policies and continue the rounds without challenging status quo. By the end of the day, you fail to hit the numbers and meet recruitment goals because the best resources are out due that checklist you have.

BECKON Model thrives on questionnaires – a series of them. By the time you are answering the third or fourth questionnaire, you already know what needs to be done, regardless of which department you belong - Recruitment, Business or Talent Development.

Monday 27 October 2014

Are You Alive Online?

If your marketing road map is still about finding the ideal customer, creating a campaign and surveying your customers for a possible lead and your advertising channels are still broadcast and print, the action items below are for you:

Build Target Audience: How can you reach out to your target audience (Someone who needs what you offer) if you are not following them on social media channels? In all possibility they will follow you, even if they do not need your services right away. Each time you post about your company products, share a relevant article or event; it reaches the right people and the interested ones will subscribe to your newsletters to know more.

Soft Sell: Just keeping them in the radar is not enough. At regular intervals, get the experts and researchers of your company to reflect their knowledge about the industry through blogs and feed the same audience. Would a customer like to do business with someone who knows the market and is well informed about current industry trends? Would he wait for the blogger to call him or reach out to the company, when the need arises?

Experience Centric: Target not just the customers but aim to impact their overall experience. When this becomes company’s primary agenda, the focus is not just about product quality, delivery timelines etc it is about influencing client’s mind with each sale and service. That builds loyalty. If you can handle client’s negative feedback in record time speed for minimum customer impact, that will not only restore faith but build trust many fold.

There are many small and medium enterprises, outlet owners, high value product dealers, exporters and institutes who still run their business without being alive online, as the myth is, the Social Media exercise requires a full time resource and if not done right, it can impact existing business.

To break that myth and know more, contact We will do a session with your employees who can contribute to your company’s content strategy and be part of the learning to achieve business outcomes. Serious business is not done just with a handshake anymore.

Friday 24 October 2014

I Cannot Sell Even At Gunpoint.

I can do everything, but cannot sell. Sounds familiar? Who needs to sell? Let us hold on to that thought – we will learn that in a minute.

A friend of mine, I knew for years, was a stellar sales person. She was with an FMCG firm then and she did sell me, and many of my contacts several products. That was over fifteen years ago. We even bought things from her, which we never needed. I always thought that if one could sell like her, they never had to worry about financial security. They will never really fall short of jobs.

Then marriage, pregnancy, being a single child she had to look after both - her ailing parents and ageing in-laws as her husband was working abroad – that sales career was long gone. In its place what she has built is what I asked her to share with me for benefit of others who can replicate that success.

Virtual Office: She works from anywhere. If you are wondering what is the big deal about that or about being a freelancer? For the past five years, she has carried out several projects online – tutoring, term projects, assignment based fee etc. Initially I had the same thought cross my mind, which just occurred to you – What a waste of her precious selling skills!

Suit Capability: She bids only for those projects that will not always require new learning each time – That does not mean she does not want to go beyond her comfort zone. If the scope is familiar, her speed of execution is high which means more money as she can quickly assign herself to other similar projects.

Work Life Balance: Her work is not affected even when she moves out of her home country. She decides the dates for her vacation, while the rest of us are at the mercy of our company holidays to plan one.

Increments & Retirement Benefits: An extra assignment each time she needs an increment or wants to save for her retirement – All well in her control.

Again, that was about my friend, who is a great sales person. I am sure her cover letters for bids, her resume on freelance portals, and her responses during interviews – each time with different clients and different companies and winning all those projects is an outcome of knowing how to sell her skills and experience well.

So it is that age-old wisdom – Each one of us are selling. Most of us do it really bad – during interviews,client presentations, appraisal discussions, building our resume, even while pitching an idea at home or anywhere . Do you still want to chant mantra like – “I cannot sell even at gunpoint”? Now that you know you do sell, is it worthwhile learning it and doing it better?

Selling is a lot about the language you use. To know more about Sales Program, contact

Sunday 12 October 2014

Is There Any Scientific Approach to Estimate Working Man Days For a Consulting Project?

While preparing a management-consulting proposal for any client, most consultants estimate working man-days required to execute the project and deliver desired outcome. Each time, they fumble at the exact same point – How to calculate, if not exact, at least close to exact man-days? It is not the ambiguity involved that creates the confusion – it is lack of a scientific approach. However, there is enough room for refining prevailing approach by considering a combination of the following components while estimating working man-days:

Scope of Work: You re look at the scope not just from execution perspective but also from an outcome based standpoint. The methodology you will adopt to frame your recommendations, implement your solution and execute the project should be crystal clear and should not be “Evolve as you Solve” style. You list the series of tasks; estimate time and effort required for each task and quote a fee, even if you are unsure if all components were appropriately included. The list is to let your client know the magnitude of the project.

Methodology: Many consultants often refer earlier projects similar in nature to arrive at the working man-days. A standard set of assumptions can be misleading. If a particular task took X time in a company as the resources involved went out of the way to execute it, how fair it is to assume another company would be able to complete the same task within the same time frame? What discount would you consider for bureaucracy? Time and effort required for key tasks could vary, depending upon the complexity of activity, stakeholders involved, organization culture and other external factors.

Milestones: Clients would me more keen about milestones reached or outcomes achieved than activities involved – You can always keep the man-days for internal reference and add required buffer if you anticipate slips or delay from client’s end while quoting project based fee. In the project charter include roles and responsibilities of both parties with required penalty clauses for delay and options to claim additional fee in case of implementation lapse. A communication calendar with key stakeholders to discuss project progress as per mutually agreed timelines should facilitate meeting targets better and lead to a logical closure of the project.

BECKON Model is used in One to One sessions with Entry-level Consultants, Leaders, Entrepreneurs, Owners of Small and Medium size enterprises.

For more details contact