Organizational Culture


You can’t sell it outside if you can’t sell it inside
–Stan Slap

Part 1, of this blog post was centered on the organizational behavior towards high performers that makes them want to stay on – mostly the reactive stuff. In this post, I explore the culture and values that are magnetic draws for talent. This is about what organizations can do proactively to  build an environment that attracts and retains the stars.

So what is the culture that you need to build in your organization to ensure that the high performers make a bee line for your doors and once in there, simply don’t want to leave?  Continue Reading

Talent Magnet


A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together
–Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

HR professionals recognize that paying a high performing employee a decent salary in itself does not guarantee retention. Today’s manager also knows that employee turnover is a huge cost to businesses.

Some organizations and leaders seem to have just got it right. What do they do to retain their talent? In an attempt to discover this, I interviewed several high performers and employers. Using the power of stories over statistics, narrative over numbers, and strengths over deficits, I found that talent retention elegantly divides itself into 2 themes – (1) how organizations treat their employees and (2) the environment they create for them to flourish. In part 1 of this article we look at the first theme.

In all my interviews, it was apparent that remuneration was a very minor reason, if at all, for staying on. So how do you get your high performers to stay longer? How do you become a … TALENT MAGNET? Continue Reading



“There go the people. I must follow them for I am their leader.”
– Alexandre Ledru-Rollin

The quintessential leaders of yesterday were like stars in the sky. They were luminous, had the ability to see far beyond their followers, and knew better simply by virtue of their being above the rest. They lit the path for the fortunate generations into which they had been born. In the last couple of millennia, these “stars” are exemplified by Jesus, Mohammed, and Buddha from the early times, and more recently by Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Lee Kuan Yew, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King – all leaders who left legacies for future generations.

True, they were undoubtedly people with great integrity, compassion and with a genuine desire to create better lives for the people they led. Yet it cannot be denied that, by and large, they were strong-minded individuals who typified the forceful, non-collaborative style of leadership and led their flocks firmly through difficult and challenging times, to achieve great and unprecedented success. It was the call of the times – nations and communities were being built; Men and women of this caliber were essential to make it happen.

Then along came the millenials! Continue Reading

Socrates Learning Change


“If you do a good job of defining your core values with behaviors, you can hire to it, promote to it, evaluate to it, reward to it, and fire to it.
–JetBlue Airlines

 The dictionary definition of values is:

  1.  A principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile or 
  2. The principles and beliefs that influence the behavior and way of life of a particular group or community

According to a 2012 Global Workforce Survey by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 90% of the 770 HR leaders in organizations with 500 or more employees, surveyed said that culture management was an important or very important challenge for their organization.

How do we create values in large groups  like organizations or countries? How do we build a desired culture? Continue Reading

Socrates Learning Change


“Leadership: the art of getting someone else to do something you want because he wants to do it.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower

I had an interesting conversation with a business consultant the other day.

I asked him what he does and he said, “When a client calls my company with a problem, they send me in. I go into the clients’ organization, study their problems and issues, come back and carry out research on those problems, write them a report with recommendations on what they should do, and take my fees, ending the engagement. It’s not easy, making sure you make spot-on recommendations.” Continue Reading

1 is greater than 9


“Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.”
–Albert Einstein 

I learned something new last week. About an amazing mathematical phenomenon with a delightful story behind it.

Let’s understand this phenomenon first. Consider the populations of countries of the world. These range from around 800 in Vatican City to 1.3 billion in China. Now, guess how many of these numbers start with the digit “1”? Nine digits, each equally possible, you’d think. A 1 in 9 chance which translates to about 11%.  Right? Wrong. Continue Reading

1 is greater than 9

“Stories have wings…They fly from mountain top to mountain top”
– Romanian Proverb

Today’s story is about the creation of this website. It all started a year back. A one-month project that took twelve!

January 2012. Start of the website project with a web programmer in India. Many emails, conference calls and two months later, there was no progress. We parted ways; no money exchanged hands, no work had been done. First lesson? When starting a project, always ensure that the others with you feel as passionately about it as you do. Eyeball to eyeball conversations help people connect in ways that telephones and emails can never do. Continue Reading

Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.
–Robert McKee

Welcome to my blog. I am Kiran Kandade, the founder and principal consultant of Socrates Learning. Through this blog I hope to share stories – little vignettes from my experiences, observations or from around the world.

Our forefathers from ancient civilizations understood the power of stories well. The most powerful learnings were handed down from generation to generation through stories. In our academic and business worlds we have grown to believe that facts and figures will teach us what we need to know. But students are people. Businesses comprise of humans. And people have always responded to stories more than they have to eminently forgettable facts. Continue Reading