People make the difference: T. Krishnakumar
Strategy, structures and systems can be defined by consultants, but what really matters, is how do you execute all of them and that is where the importance of people becomes critical. My personal mission is focusing on institution building and on investment in talent capability. I track this mission based on the number of people I have been able to influence to deliver value to the organization. For me, it is very clear - people make the difference to create an environment and eventually people and work environment are the key differentiators for any business.
Today, organizations are going through a key transition in order to deal with a very volatile world. The unpredictability or the uncertainty has increased due to several macro economic factors – governments trying to protect them, governments trying to undo policies and practices, and industry trying to find its new role in a changed environment. To address this increasingly volatile situation, organizations will focus on two main objectives - ensure that people are trained to perform in this new environment, and identify and acquire talent that is tuned to these new business requirements.
In this context, the three people related priorities for our business this year are, building capable talent, building a great workplace, and creating a high performing organization. If you ask me, the time I invest on people is unlimited. A secret of my success has been the fact that I have always surrounded myself with capable people. Then it is left to the manager to spend time with people in order to retain them. I always believe when it comes to people, time is unlimited, and even if I have to give up some other priority to spend time with people, I would do that. My time is spent on identifying, working with and deploying good talent. The key requirement to be able to build talent in my view is through deep engagement at all levels. I am actively involved in the ‘Development Plans’ of the top 200 people in my organization.
With respect to my time spent on people related activities, almost half the month, I am with people on the field who are selling our product to the outlets. I travel at least 15 days a month, which gives me the opportunity to connect with people across geographies. On a normal day in the office, I would possibly end up spending at least half an hour with our people in the office.
The organization’s emphasis on people activities depends on what the CEO wants to do. It is defined by whether or not the top is interested in building an institution. The two functions in my view that mattered most are first HR and then, Finance. Finance, because governance system to account for resource investment is critical, and HR, because ultimately, people are the differentiators for business. If an organization is able to acquire good people and develop them, then 90 percent of the work is done. We focus on sharpening the performance management system and people development processes and the HR function is committed to making this happen.