Category Archives: Global Leaders

Urs, the global HR ManagerThe last you know of Urs, the global HR Manager is that we agreed to meet again in three months. Urs and his wife had taken a brave decision. They went to Bangalore and Kerala for a small vacation. Urs wanted to have a conversation with Rajeev’s father. Rajeev then was allowed to support the company in Switzerland for nine months. Urs told me later that through his vacation he got a better understanding of how Indian families lived. He also understood that Rajeev needed a lot more support and what he called “fatherly love” than his Swiss team members.

While Rajeev worked in Switzerland they took coffee and tea in the morning. Urs did not have a team in Switzerland but a few other colleagues where interested in India so they would join them. Rajeev enjoyed the small coffee breaks. He learnt about Swiss sports and politics. He dared to ask questions about the religion and about single life before marriage. When this topic started Urs would excuse himself to go to a meeting while Rajeev. For the rest of the day Rajeev would work hard to meet Urs’ expectations. He often worked longer hours than his Swiss colleagues but he enjoyed his work. Once he was back in Bangalore and even when he moved on to a new employer Rajeev would see Urs as a mentor and ask him for guidance. Urs once told me with teary eyes “You know with Rajeev and also Kasha I almost feel like they are my children. It’s a new feeling for me since we never had children. I enjoy to be so useful now and I am much more relaxed.”

That day we ended the coaching. There is only so much a coach can contribute.

After the last month on the business bee, we thought we could share ideas on Global Leaders.

You could learn from Urs a Swiss Human Resources Manager with a global team located in Bratislava, Manila, Pune and Bern. (First quiz: Do you know the countries and time zones in which these cities are located. If yes, please comment.)

One of the challenges Urs faced was that he often would devise project plans for software roll-outs that were bound to fail as he would not understand the local customs. Rajeev, one of his team members from India would describe him as cold and distant. Another team member from Manila thought Urs was not communicating well and did not show that he could be a leader as he kept asking his team for input and their thoughts. On the other hand Kasha from the Bratislava thought Urs was very knowledgeable about SAP, the tool they were currently implementing in their global payroll and HR processes.

One day Urs sees his manager for a performance review and the feedback he gets is not up to his standard. He gets an average performance rating. His manager mentions that Urs has not been able to lead his global team in a way that made a good performance possible. The manager had to report to senior management repeatedly that a part of the roll-out was delayed and then just when the roll-out was done in two countries key features of the payroll did not bring out the right results. For some unknown reason in the Philippines and India the withholding tax rates were not calculated correctly.

Urs was very frustrated. He decided to seek help but he did not want the company to know…so he contacted us. 🙂

(to be continued)