The buzzword today is of "multitasking" or in that case "double-tracking" as the corporate lingo goes, and managers have realised the need for an employee to specialise or rather handle more than just one function at a time. Maybe coz, the management have started to believe that the employee shud have the pulse of each department or in that case the department with which he can work closely.
Whatever may be the case, let us review this -
Ramesh Malhotra (name masked), as National Sales and marketing head of a financial organisation is obviously responsible for the company's sales and marketing. He also overlooks its risk Management department. He is involved in putting its technology in place besides being in charge of overall operations. One man, many departments. And you thought, 'the more the merrier' concept did not work when it comes to managing multiple departments. Professionals today are ready to take on more than one challenge at work. And you need not be superman to accept them all. What helps, is being able to relate to all the departments. Ramesh Malhotra believes it is a good idea to have one man who is closely linked to the client as also company operations. Says he, "Today, each department is a part of the value chain. Being responsible for everything, I make sure that there is a value proposition created at every stage." Businesses today cannot be compartmentalised. Doing so would lead to the discrepancies like those that exist between direct marketing agents for banks and the bank's back offices. It sure helps to have someone who can conceptualise the changes that need to be done in step 'A' in order to get step 'C' right. Renuka Shah, a Human Resource Consultant believes in every business unit being an integrated one today. And if you have to get the whole right, "it is important to have the pulse of every department and being sensitive to the work constraints and the deliverables." Most small to medium Indian businesses are run on the lines of one-man show. But it is possible even when business expands, say professionals. You need not be physically present in every department through the day, yet the outcome could be what was desired. "Effective day to day reporting by colleagues can make up for physical absence," feels Malhotra. This is precisely, what CFO's and CEO's depend on. Managing multiple departments and multi tasking is always appreciated at the workplace. And companies that adopt a rotational job system at the lower levels are actually training future managers to manage multiple departments. This is a good practice even from the people management perspective. More departments also mean managing many more people working within each department. What any team leader needs the most is, people skills. And all the more if he or she is going to deal with people coming from diverse fields like technical or marketing etc. "Knowing what goes into it creates empathy, one is more supportive and can deliver even at the horizontal level," says Renuka. After a certain level, having a peripheral knowledge of every department is good enough even if you have not spent years in each of them. So your main expertise need not come from education alone but by being able to pick up business tips real quickly while working on the field. Effective time management seems to be the secret of managing multiple portfolios as well. Everybody needs your time. And there are only 24 hours to a day. Allotting time to each department according to priority helps.
Obviously managing multiple departments demands a lot from the team leader too. He has to be a hands-on person, with a will to stretch his enthusiasm. This is easier done when it comes from within. Being a numbers person also helps. Having the right data empowers mangers to make the right choices. Knowing what one wants from all the data again means optimising time. "This way, you do not leave much to probabilities and uncertainties, except those that are part and parcel of the business itself," says Malhotra. While you work hard to do justice to the many departments you are responsible for, there is always the fear of doing injustice to your personal life. Working beyond office hours is part and parcel of such a profile, say professionals, but such compromises can be avoided if every working minute is used to the optimum. They need to network more. Rising above the real work, by putting systems in place and having more user friendly Reports have proved to be time savers in the long run. Now, having read this, you can think whether are you multitasking ? As for me, the answer is "YES", I am multitasking... What about you ???