Redefine success with perspective and control

I was always surprised at the learning capabilities of few of my employees, while most did not scale up inspite of every opportunity and condition being the same. We conduct surveys for employee satisfaction every year and a large section of the employees continue to complain on two key points. ‘Company is not fair in giving us the money that they actually deserve’ and ‘Promotions are not happening in a fair way and managers are playing favorites’.

Such an input coming year after year even though we went ahead changing old systems of appraisal and promotions fundamentally. We made everything very transparent and something that gave equal opportunity to one and all. But even then, the two complaints remained the same. I was left wondering as to why most of my employees still think the way they think, even though we remained one of the best pay masters and one of the best in people practices.

We were sure that we promoted the best guys and gave high increase in salaries to those who stood out. We also ensured that every employee got equal opportunity to reach at the highest place of achievement and even put the job of our leaders to ensure that more and more employees moved up in the bracket of success. While our quality of people improved and overall things became better, the two complaints struck out like always.

It was one fine day that I happened to see an article on David Allan’s matrix of self management that made me sit-up and think and things started falling in place.

Matrix of Management

This matrix clearly explains why some people are what they are in their professional and almost always in their personal life too. Their success and failures are clearly understood with only two things that controls their professional and most likely their personal life too.

Every human being wants to have control of their life and whatever they do in their life. However, what do they need the control for? They need it to achieve the vision of their lives that they wanted to achieve. The perspective that guides their professional and personal life is the second big factor that plays key role in making a person what they are. This is where the matrix clearly defines four kind of people.


  1. A Victim or Reactor: Such people do not have any perspective of why they are doing things they do every day. At the same time, they feel that do not have any control on things as well. All such people look themselves upon as victims and others see them as those who simply whine and react over things that otherwise are so normal. If we happen to be in a company that is not a great place to work, we will find a vast majority falling in this category. They define the genes of the company by being a victim all the time. In case if the leader too happens to be in this category, you must jump the ship immediately.
  2. Visionary or Crazy innovator: A lot of people have great vision and can clearly articulate as to what should be done to reach the goal. However if they lack the adequate clout or control to make things happen, they normally get identified as either a visionary or a crazy person who simply talks things that is not easy for victims to understand. If you happen to be one of them, instead of getting pulled down to a category of a victim, look at help that can make you a leader.
  3. Micro Manager: Who does not know what a micro manager means. All those who look at authority and control beyond anything else and clearly have little idea as to what the perspective of doing the things they all do is, can be termed as micro managers. Many of us ourselves face some kind of micro managers in our own bosses. It is only a question of the manager being a habitual and perpetual micro manager or someone who gets down to micro manage only when things go out of control. Habitual micromanagers must look at improving their control freak tendency to more of delegation and move to become true leaders.
  4. Commanders or leaders: We all respect and want to follow those who have clear vision and have control to achieve the vision. Such people are clearly the leaders. We must identify such leaders and try to be with them as they will give you success and teach you to be successful.

Let us use this matrix to redefine our own goals and aim to become leaders in our professional and personal lives.

Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is Managing Partner of SRKay Consulting group, a private equity company, nurturing innovative ventures. Alok also serves on the board of ICCL (Indian Clearing Corporation Limited - A subsidiary of BSE- Bombay Stock Exchange) as an external advisor for technology and information security. Prior to this, Alok had been Managing Director of Sears IT & Management Services India Private Limited (SHI) since its inception in December 2009 and served in the same position till very recently. Having been in senior IT management positions in Fortune 500 companies, Alok has won several national and international awards. Alok is instrumental in planning and setting up SHI and thereafter growing it to a multi-locational thousand-plus people organization. Over the last five years, with his strategic vision, Alok helped SHI grow roots in India, develop and support technology applications and infrastructure across core mainframe, cutting edge e-Commerce and big data technologies. With his unique people-oriented transformational leadership style, Alok turned SHI into one of the most valued investments of Sears, garnering great ROIs, and creating value much beyond cost arbitrage. Under his tutelage, SHI has filed two patents and is recognized widely for its best practices in various areas, the latter, currently featured in Indian Institute of Management (IIM) case studies. SHI also became a CMMI Level 3, PCMM Level 3, and ISO 20000 certified organization. Alok is a widely acclaimed corporate leader in India today. He regularly participates and leads various forums as a keynote speaker and is an author of several books in different genres. Alok has several awards to his credit. He is particularly known in the industry for his people management skills and innovative ideas in improving the productivity of employees through unique people practices. He has been credited with the following industry awards: ¬ Emerging Leader of the Year award 2013 by ¬ Game Changer CEO of the Year 2013 (SHRM) ¬ CIO 100 - The Bold CIOs - 2008 (Reliance Infosolutions) ¬ CIO - Ones to Watch Award 2008 (Reliance Industries) ¬ Extended Manager Award - CIOL 2004 (Tata Teleservices) As an able leader of SHI, Alok got SHI recognized widely in the industry with the following several awards: ¬ CII Award for HR Best Practices in 2014 ¬ Global Excellence in Outsourcing Award - AIOP (Phoenix 2013) ¬ IT Innovation Award (Design & Engineering) - Computer Society of India 2012 ¬ Golden Company of the Year - Economic Times 2011-12 ¬ 7th Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Mumbai, India) 2013: • ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ Award • ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with business • HR Leadership Award • Talent Management Award by Bloomberg TV India ¬ Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Singapore, Asia) 2013: • 7th rank in ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ award • Award for ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with the business • HR Leadership Award Other recognitions: Alok had served on the distinguished panel of NASSCOM's GIC (Global In-house Centers) National Council members. The council members play a key role in major initiatives of the industry and include the torch bearers of IT industry as panel members. Books and Papers: Alok is an established author, with three books to his credit. Alok’s third and latest book, a novel, “The Spy from Unaula” is a 2015 publication. A handwriting analysis enthusiast, Alok collaborated with his wife Nandani on the book, “Handwriting Speaks” in 2006. “Value Sourcing – Future of IT Outsourcing” was co-authored with Keith Sherwell (currently CIO, Altice USA) and was released in 2013. Alok also researched and published two whitepapers: a. “Creating next generation captives” talks about the best practices that are helping generate higher value from the IT company captives.

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