KFA Writes

‘Who’ First


Questions like ‘What’, ‘Where’, ‘When’, ‘How’ and ‘Who’ hit one’s mind while starting any venture. What is the Idea? Where shall the idea be implemented? When is the right time for implementation? How is the process going to be? Who will implement the Idea? I strongly feel that before answering any other questions, one should seek answer to the ‘Who’ question? Who is going to implement the idea? That’s where importance of human resource becomes pertinent. Management is the art of getting things done through ‘others’. Combination of individuals or ‘Who’s must form the right team for overall achievement of enterprise’s objectives.

Every human being is different. Each person has his or her likes and dislikes, his or her interest areas. Best part of contemporary education is that these days, students are taught to work on their strengths rather than to eliminate weaknesses as it used to happen in earlier times. Best education institutes understand ‘interest profile’ of individuals and teach the students or participants accordingly. Education system has changed and so has the student’s maturity level and exposure.  Right from early ages, students are exposed to internet world, television, contemporary movies, books etc., as a result of which they mature pretty fast and they know their likes and dislikes, they know the areas in which they can contribute and the areas in which ‘keeping academic interest’ is enough. It is unbelievable how the new generation are groomed and coming up to take the required challenges in this complex world. When these human resources are exposed to relevant working exposure, they become ready to take bigger challenges.

Entrepreneurs need to identify these human resources. For example, a resource who is highly suitable to work in hospitality business maybe completely unsuitable to contribute in the manufacturing unit.

Although, most times, decision to start business ventures are dominated by ‘gut feel’, a thorough ‘business feasibility’ is always recommended. Feasibility analysis includes scanning of political environment, industry analysis, trends, business dynamics, operating cycle analysis, cash flow analysis, payback period and internal rate of returns among others. It is always better to involve ‘who’, the most important component, even before the feasibility analysis is conducted. Needless to say, that the strength or interest of the human resource, who is going to be involved, must be considered as the major factor. Logic is simple, in case the project is feasible, the same person who would be involved from ‘pre-feasibility phase’, will drive the project and take it forward. By the time, he or she completes the feasibility in the pre-operating phase, he or she would have understood all the major components those are required for efficient delivery of work later on.

‘Right person in the right place’ is another very important phrase that we have learnt in ‘Human Resource Management’. If the selected person has interest or desire to contribute in a particular segment, backed up by his or her relevant education qualification and necessary work experience, then that individual will be enjoying the work, and there is an interesting saying that if you enjoy the work, you do not need to work.

The ‘Who’ philosophy also demand working and decision-making freedom to the person involved. Challenging the thought-process and taking decisions accordingly has to be both way work culture in any venture. If responsibilities are entrusted to a responsible human resource, appropriate amount of authority must be delegated and the same person needs to be made accountable for the positive as well as negative results.

In all the ventures, there are front-office functions like relationship management, business development, marketing and sales, and also back office functions like operations, finance, audit, IT and so on. My experience says that it is very rare for same person to have both skill sets, i.e., front office as well as back office. People should be entrusted with the responsibilities of either front or back office functions according to their ‘core strengths’.

To summarize, ‘who first’ approach leads to successful venture in most of the times.

-Resta Jha

The Author is Chairman of KFA, leading Institute providing Training, Education and Consulting Services to various sectors in Nepal.

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