Human  Resonance

  • Resonance as a word , is better understood than defined in a dictionary . The very dry & restricted definition in a dictionary does not do justice to this beautiful & potent concept — so here is my sense making on ‘ Resonance ‘
    • Resonance is a state of matter where it feels abundance of energy – free flow at will , for attaining fulfillment
  • We probably first heard it in our Physics Lab in school in the context of a metal . In an experiment we were given a metal tong / fork to strike on a hard surface & watch vibrations ( & the amplitude of vibration ) created in that metal . We were told ( which is true ) that each metal has its own ‘ natural frequency ‘ of vibration . If you make the metal vibrate at its natural frequency , the amplitude of vibration is the maximum / double . This means that at its ‘ natural frequency ‘ the metal produces ‘ higher output ‘ and ‘ willingly ‘
  • This ‘ natural frequency ‘ for a metal is a characteristic of that metal , just as its density , specific gravity or melting point & other properties – which defines the metal & these properties of a metal are different from that of another metal – just like nature of human beings.
  • You can feel it happening in Music . If you pull / strike a string of a stringed musical instrument in just the right way you see the string buzzing & feel the melodious , longer lasting musical vibrations . You can hear this resonance in the sound of a ball being hit by a cricket bat , just at the right spot & at the right time ( timing )
  • I have come to believe that the concept of Resonance is also very intrinsic to Human beings . Each of us can , need to & do resonate towards attaining our fulfillment
    • I therefore believe that each of us have our own unique ‘ natural frequency ‘ if struck at that we resonate . Each one can & will , if only we can find that ‘ natural frequency ‘ for that person .
    • You can feel ( for self ) & see ( for others ) this resonance happening …this is a state of exhilaration , where you experience ecstasy & joy ‘ for nothing ‘ , in anything you do . This is a state where ‘ things happen ‘ , you don’t need to try to hard … nothing you do is a burden for you – the more you do what you do , you feel more happy ( & not tired ) ; you kind of ‘ float ‘ smoothly , everything seems to make sense to you , you have a purpose to exist , you feel life is too short for ALL that you want to do . You have a Great sense of self worth & feel immensely fulfilled . It is a very desired state of mind to be in – should become the ‘ Natural ‘ state to be in for each of us .
  • I also believe for human beings , there exists : Individual Resonance & also Collective Resonance ( like the Bees humming & working in perfect harmony )
  • When resonance happens in an Organisation set up , you see ( not just better but )outstanding results , high energy levels – almost contagious – in employees , a ‘ buzz’ around , you feel the vibrance in the ambience ; it’s a whole lot of positivity which shows not just in measurable results but also in individual fulfillment / happiness and higher employee engagement leading to high retentions .
    • When collective resonance happens , we see a multiplier effect – these organisations may even reach a stage of ‘ Collective Consciousness ‘ …. Where things ‘ happen ‘ , everyone ‘ knows ‘ – nothing needs to be told or explained or asked .
  • So Human Resonance seems to be a very desired state of being ; question is HOW ? Do we know what it takes & Do we know how do we help unfold
  • I don’t think I have a ready answer – a proven formula . But I do have a good understanding of what – why – how it works . Simply it is about ‘ striking a chord ‘ with another person . Various initiatives that we can undertake for human resonance , can be categorized into two ‘ buckets ‘ : Alignment , Ambience
    • Alignment : Each of us has a natural tendency – an inherent strength to do something very well . While a person may be average in many things , there will always be that ‘ one thing ‘ where that person can really to excel . This is what Gallup organization calls ‘ Talent ‘ . All we need to do is to know / understand an employee’s talent & align it with right role . When some one does when he/ she is naturally inclined to do , he/she will reach excellence & thereby a greater sense of fulfillment
    • Ambience : We do not need to resonate anybody , that each individual will do , all we need to do is to provide facilitative ambience for each to blossom . There are many ways / mechanisms / tools one can use to root the employee in Trust & Comfort , with the organization . Tools like : (i) Creating outstanding on boarding experience , (ii) Buddy system , (iii) KYE – Know your employee ( beyond CV & identify value you can add ) , (iv) EVP – Employee Value Proposition ( non monetary promise an organization holds to make an employee ‘ long to belong ‘ )
  • I hope above is adequate enlightenment –Of course if you need further connect or clarity on the subject , you can always reach me @ +91 99860 34443 or . All the best to all of us !

Wrong Hire — Cost of Existence


  • Talent management , Employee retention are getting to be of paramount focus for organisations & rightfully so . Increasingly it will be about our ability to spot talent , attract , nurture & our ability to create Human / Talent Resonance ( best alignment between an employee’s talent with the role requirement ) , which will be our differentiator & decider for outstanding success—it is going to be less & less about Knowledge , Capital or even Technology
  • Attrition is the opposite of retention . There are two broad categories of attrition : Desirable , Undesirable – causal factor for each is divergent . While undesirable attrition has lot to do about an organisation’s ability to positively engage the employee & retain him / her for longer ; whereas primary reason for undesirable attrition is Wrong Hire – organisation’s ability to select ( or lack of ability ) right candidature .
  • Attrition of any kind ( & for whatever reason ) and its replacement COSTS ! . There have been extensive ( research based or otherwise) accounts of estimation of cost of attrition / replacement & various reporting on different components of this Cost : Recruitment , Induction , Training , Initial warm up time , Employee morale , Company image , Cost of discontinuity … etc . Not much for me to add here .
  • However surprisingly , as much as is written about the costs post exit / replacement of a person – everyone seems to have missed on the cost of Existence of the exiting employee — I am obviously referring to Desirable attrition candidate . There are significant hidden costs of a desirable exit , while the employee is working . I call it as Cost of Existence or a Wrong Hire . Since none has focused on this real but ignored cost , I chose to bring it to attention here .
  • Every additional day of a Wong Hire in job costs organization immensely , in myriad ways , as :
    • Absorption :Since the alignment of inclination and role is low , ‘ uptake ‘ is low & slow . Hence impacts getting ‘ up to speed ‘ in time & quality of output
    • Training : Since inclination is low , efficacy of training is low . Gain for training costs is questionable
    • Productivity : Again due to low fit between role requirement & the employee talent / tendencies , work output is low , both in terms of quantum & quality
    • Substitution : Since the work output is below desired levels , most of the time to keep on track , it calls for ‘ substitution ‘ of efforts from the supervisor . This employee unfairly draws much management resource , just to keep afloat . This is draining of management time , energy , which otherwise can be redeployed in more gainful ways
    • Organisational momentum : One person operating ‘ below par ‘ does not just affect his supervisor or teammates – in a chain reaction of substitution, soon most of the organization , at all levels start operating at one level below . Beyond work output , it saps the organization of its vital vibrance , energy .
    • Negativity : All negative / below par things have a ‘ gravity effect ‘ on the organization . Most draw parallel from a non performer ( going un addressed ) to lower their performance ( if he can survive at low performance , why should I stretch for more ? ) This is indirect negativity . However non performers have a far more potential to add direct negativity , by spreading their frustrations , depressions ; they can harm the organization immensely
  • Unfortunately though most of us have experienced this “ Cost of Existence “ of a Wrong Hire , no one has paid much attention to this , either talking about or estimating the cost of this damage . I too have experienced it first hand & while I have no organized study to back up ; my hunch is that the Cost of Existence of a Wrong Hire is no less than the cost of its Replacement .
  • The cure for this is – Right Selection . We need to realise that while Knowledge , Skills can be imparted from outside , Talent or Constitution ( how is that individual ‘ made up ‘ ) comes as intrinsic with the person we hire . Hence it is important to see that we select – not the most intelligent or most knowledgeable or most skilled , but the most right in constitution . No amount of training or hard efforts can change a wrong person into right . Remember no training can convert a Donkey into a Horse … training can at best make a Donkey , a better Donkey


I found that approaches / outlook different people hold for work or even life can be categorized into two distinct buckets : Trader mentality or  Businessman mentality . The way I am using this terminology here ; the words : Trader , Businessman , do not denote actual professions they represent , but to describe ‘ mentality ‘ or ‘ approach ‘ with different people

Since I believe ; ‘ What you do ‘ is a function of ‘ How you see ‘ ; people with these two mentalities have two distinct , different pattern of behavior , let’s see how

  • Revenue / money drive :
    • TRADER : is focused on how much money he is making … not necessarily from where it is coming or if this has any consistent direction . He should be happy , as long as xx number of transaction giving yyy revenue is clocked every day . As a result , a Trader may not develop or may not be known for any skill ( e.g. a Fruit seller , but not as Mango Expert or Orange expert ) As a generalist , trader will neither command a Brand , nor a premium – will be moneyed , but he is faceless to his customers & customers are faceless to him
    • BUSINESSMAN : is focused on a ‘ Line of Business ‘ … has a sense of purpose & direction & getting deeper into it , will eventually develop that skill in the desired field & will be known for his expertise . Premium comes from being a specialist
  • Transactional :
    • TRADER : As long as he is meeting the revenue target it does not matter if the same source / customer is coming again & again . It could be a completely different set of customers every day , as long as the revenue output is met . Way of dealing is transactional
    • BUSINESSMAN : Repeat sales is very important for the Businessman . It is important for him to have many of same customers to come again & again . Way of dealing is transactional
  • Profit outlook :
    • TRADER : Has to maximize profit in EVERY transaction …. Since business for him is a Sum of individual transactions . That is why a ‘ Trader ‘ says ; “ Goods once sold will not be taken back “
    • BUSINESSMAN : Optimises profit for the business over a period ; not for each transaction , every day . Hence a businessman may not mind taking one step back to go two steps forward
  • Focus :
    • TRADER : Focus is clearly on self . Likely to be rude / arrogant & ego driven
    • BUSINESSMAN : Focus is customer . Likely to be polite , accommodative,not  ego driven
  •  Now if you understand the two approaches clearly , just think : not just in business / work ; but also in our personal life , don’t we see people using these two different approaches in handling people & relationships


The more I have work on Strategies , more I traverse through the landscape with Successes & Failures & the more I learn about Business , the more & more I am convinced that — Strategy / no strategy , Technology / no technology ; the most fundamental factor for sustained business success is RIGHT  people  . Right human resource is a multiplier & wrong resource is a divider

Therefore Right Selection is a fundamental business process for an Organisation — it’s first level Quality Control . Great organisations like Google place overwhelming emphasis on employee selection , to an extent that they advocate even cutting $ from Training budget & putting into Selection budget . Selection process in best of organisations are therefore more elaborate , intensive , rigorous & with involvement from the highest level ( not outsourced or abdicated )

While each organisation will & should evolve its own selection process , here are some observations & learning which can help most  :

# Do not hire or pay for what you can ; pay for what you can’t : Historically most make the mistake of interviewing candidate based on his CV & select based on Academics , Knowledge / Skills , Experience . To me this is belief has outlived its expiry date . These are not selection parameters , but rejection parameters . ( It is like Power steering / Power window for a new car — this is no more a decision parameter ) You should not even ask anyone for interview if he / she does not qualify on these parameters . But once shortlisted , don’t waste your time on checking knowledge / skills , academics . Knowledge & skills is what you can impart & hence if your , otherwise Right candidate is short on these , they can always be imparted — then why pay for what you can do . You must hire & pay what a candidate brings , but you can’t impart . This is what I call as ” Constitution ” of a candidate . Constitution is what makes a Horse ,a horse & a Donkey , a donkey — you can do nothing to change & hence look for & insist on while hiring . A constitution is how a candidate , as an individual is ; his / her attitude , application , perspective to work , beliefs , etc …. these are the elements define what he is & significantly impact what he can do in the job

# Do not be under illusion ; we are not in transformation business  : We need to understand that we do not have the wherewithal , nor the mandate nor the time to transform anyone against his / her wishes . We can not turn a Mango into an Orange & vice versa . Do not be under the naive impression that we have the tools to do it . Training can only make a donkey into a better donkey ; but never into a horse . It is like a Fertile land v/s a Barren land . This choice has to be made at the point of selection ; not after

# What is a RIGHT constitution  : I guess , a large portion of profile of a RIGHT candidate is likely to be Universal ; though some portion will always be contextual to the Industry , Business environment ,  Stage of evolution of your organisation & its Value system . I can share what I have distilled as a set of 5 parameters – what constitutes a RIGHT person for us in our current business context : (i) Independent thinking , (ii) Ownership , (iii)  Self management , (iv) Learning ability , (v) Problem – Solution ability .  I have elaborated on these 5 attributes in my last posting in December …. for any more clarity you can always reach me at ;

# Right selection is a skill , we need to train our interviewers on : Although right selection is so fundamental to business success , ironically , practically none of us , the world over , has even been formally trained in ” Quality Interviewing ” , nor are the interviewers are ever measured on their ‘ performance ‘ — with the exception of a few organisations ( again like Google ) . From my experience I can certainly tell you that right interviewing does require Training , Practice and Measurement & feedback


Is there a difference between Incentivising & Bribing  ?  For those who don’t think , these two sound different ; for those who can think , would not have thought so , but will get confused , once I ask this question & will start thinking .

In the first instance , when you start thinking deeper , it may appear to you more that both are in principle similar , the more you start thinking …. however think even deeper & the real difference will start getting clear to you .

  • Three points of difference :
    • Incentives are for reinforcing the right behavior … recognizing you for what you should be doing ; Bribe is inducing wrong behavior … tempting you to do what you should not be doing
    • It’s the reversal of “ Cause and Effect “ . Incentives is the RESULT of the reason ( your commitment to the task ) you work on ; whereas Bribe is THE REASON why you do the task ( result )
    • Incentive payout is in reposition of faith & that you may want to induce / reinforce a similar behavior again … whereas bribe payout is out of the distrust that even legitimate work will not happen without paying bribe & that you may not want it to be reinforced . Incentive payout is by choice , bribe paying is out of a compromise
  • Some people distinguish ( to reduce their guilt out of having to a bribe ) between ‘ Good bribe ‘ & a ‘ Bad bribe ‘ . For them , a god bribe is & is called – Speed money , for expediting what is otherwise legitimate & above board ; whereas a bad bribe is for inducing an illegitimate act , something is not above board & what was not to be .
    • This argument sounds so temptingly logical to believe , however the danger is that if you buy in here , you will lose your discretion to differentiate between Good & Bad by the intent behind … if this gate is opened & if this anchor is given up , human intelligence can justify any act / behavior , depending on which of it you are .

HORSES or DONKEYS — Who do we need ?


  • Who does an organization need … Horses or Donkeys
    • The answer is … Both ; each has a role to play . Donkey’s role is to carry load , Horse’s role is to run
  • The problem is not either / or , problem is that we employ wrong person in right role
    • When we place a Horse in a Donkey’s role , it is inefficient and when we place a Donkey in a Horse’s role , it is ineffective
  • Management principles I distil from these learning , are :
    • To realize that different people can be different ; there are no clones of the type we desire . Some of these differences are ‘ Constitutional ‘ , they relate not just to what a person appears to be , but to what one fundamentally is . Don’t be naïve to presume that our dedication , our tools / techniques will transform a Donkey into a Horse – God has not been able to achieve this feat . One can hope to convert a lazy horse into a high energy one , but not effect a genetic transformation . No amount of efforts , hard work , dedication and materials can convert a barren land into a fertile one , … in the least it’s not worth your time .
      • This fundamental realization will help use right technique including training with the right animal ; what works on a donkey will be different from what works with a horse .
    • Above realization will help getting the right person in the right place
    • To be able to do all of above we need to have an ability to be able to recognize and differentiate a Horse from a Donkey
  • Finally success is not defined based on how many horses , how many donkeys you have , but by how you place your resources and play with , that maximizes the results



  • Customer is the King . Ask any one who has had some exposure to formal college education or who has heard of ‘ Consumerism ‘ , he will surely say , Consumer always comes first
  • And yet you see what most organizations invariably do exactly the opposite – they are inwardly focused . They pursue their pre set financial goals , not customer needs , they are structured to suit internal admin logistics not aligned with serving customers , they produce what suits their abilities not customer needs & their use of technology is towards internal convenience and cost optimization , not for serving customer better ; it doesn’t make customer’s search or life easier
  • That is why the non – human way ( voice command operated , automated teleservice ) is increasingly becoming inhuman … may times you do not get across or have to hold on to it for long or you have to cross 6-7 levels of filtering commands , in the garb of guiding you …. It is actually a deterrent for the customer to continue . Many times you find that the option or issue of service you are seeking resolution for is not even listed in the menu . This is distancing from customers .
  • As if this ‘ distancing from customers ‘ was not good enough , I’m seeing a new trend of ‘ hiding from customers ‘ . The trend I see in at least 2 major service sector companies : One is a big ‘ Tel – Tel ‘ company in Telecom & another DTH company operating from the sky ; is to say tata to customers by closing down visible service centers . When earlier they had a physical presence in the form of service centers where customers had some recourse to issues and grievances have fast disappeared . In my recent experience when our telephone sustained follow up did was not responded to despite promises we did not know where to go , as even on company’s website there is no address , except the HO in Mumbai one can approach . Denying access to customers to me is a Cardinal sin , especially in the Service sector
  • In India most Organisations , in the name of customer service , serve own interest ; that is because they see themselves and customers as on two opposite sides , they suspect their customers — that is why they seek ‘ protective ‘ measures from customers & build a fortress wall around themselves . They see Organisaion’s interests & Customer interests as two & often clashing entities … that is why service standards in India are so pathetically below standard . In the end these organizations neither serve their customers well nor themselves .
  • If you ask me who comes first ; I’m very clear on the attention hierarchy , it is : Customer à Organisation à Employees . It’s always customers first , who are the reason businesses are created Hence it is the Organisation who needs to be aligned to serving customers & not the other way round . It is my conviction that there is no better way to serve organisation’s interest except via serving customer interest . The beauty is ( which most organizations and managements miss ) that if you are truly aligned with your customers , you will always be on your customer’s side & when both are on the same side , there are no two ( clashing ) sides to service ; there is only one cause left … the common cause of serving your customers . Those companies who have internalized this spirit have long sustaining & flourishing businesses , because they know no better way of conducting business . These respectable organizations do not chase business or numbers ; they only run with their customers because of which the business chases them .