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March 26, 2021 - No Comments!

How-to Guide: How do coaching and mentoring contribute to leadership development?

how to coaching and mentoring contribute to leadership development blog banner

In today’s dynamic and disruptive business environment, the right skills play a critical role in driving future success. High performance starts at the employee level, funneling up to the team or functional level, and further to top leadership. In fact, today’s employees are tomorrow’s leaders, they shall steer the organizational ship in the right direction, taking others along in achieving the business objective. Hence, it is imperative for organizations to invest in the apt leadership development program and learning tools to continuously build future-relevant competencies.

The New-Age Performance Paradigm

Performance management has evolved over the years, from a carrot-stick approach to a developmental focus. The boundaries between performance management and L&D are fast blurring, as new skills are required to navigate the new normal. In a bid to unleash employees’ innovation, energy, and commitment, the corporate leadership training ethos is now more of ‘direct-and-develop’, than ‘command-and-control,. Such democratization and digitalization of learning have compelled organizations to expand their learning offerings to include newer tools, such as learning management software, coaching mentoring, virtual classroom platforms, and holistic learning-experience platforms.


The Need for Coaching-Mentoring as a Leadership Development Tool

Developing leaders is a pan-organizational activity today, not limited to the higher echelons of the corporate hierarchy. With hierarchical silos melting apart in a hyper-connected, digital era, mid-level managers to are expected to lead in their own right. In fact, a fundamental shift is seen in the manager-role; the role of a manager is becoming that of a coach. The modern-day manager is expected to ask questions instead of providing answers, to support employees instead of judging them, and to facilitate their teams’ development instead of dictating what has to be done. Hence, coaching and mentoring find application for leadership development across levels, from mid-level to senior-level employees.

Another important transformation driving the need for coaching-mentoring is the attitude towards capability development. Organizations have realized that continuous learning is the only way to stay relevant and future-ready, and hence, coaching-mentoring may prove a powerful tool to cultivate a continuous learning culture.


Coaching or Mentoring: What is right for your employees?

To effectively use coaching and mentoring for leadership development training, it is important to understand how they differ. Coaching is focused on building specific Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude (KSA), making it more performance-based or role-based for the present needs. Mentoring, on the other hand, is more relationship-based and focuses on holistic development i.e. professional, personal, and even spiritual; and is more ongoing in nature. These differences complement each other, making both modalities valuable and necessary in building sustainable leaders. It is up to L&D to be blend both together in the right manner and curate a powerful, unbeatable offering for developing future leaders.

While the conventional concepts of coaching and mentoring apply, the rise of future-skills such as digital skills and social skills offer organizations the opportunity to institutionalize reverse-mentoring- a concept where young employees who are digital-natives (such as millennials) coach older employees on the new-age skills.


Assimilating Coaching-Mentoring into the Leadership Development Strategy

To truly make coaching and mentoring an integral part of executive leadership training, L&D professionals must carefully curate the finer details, every step of the way.

Formalizing Coaching-mentoring as a Process: This starts with outlining the coaching-mentoring need to designing or sourcing the appropriate tool, to implementing the solution in a phased manner. A formalized coaching process with process-steps factored into the learning tool is the best way to make a real skill-building impact.

Building A Coaching Culture: Coaching must become institutionalized into the nuances of organizational learning, especially in executive development programs and processes. Only then can it bring about real and sustained skill-change. This is possible only when leaders themselves act as icons of futuristic learning and become coaches/mentors to support and guide employees. Streamlining the process-aspect is a bare-basic hygiene factor, but L&D must focus a lot more on the people aspect. L&D leaders need to drive a mindset change and for this, leaders must espouse values such as openness and transparency, collaboration, shared learning, and so on. Encouraging developmental dialogue amongst people is instrumental to coaching-mentoring success. Coaching-mentoring readiness requires a very different set of values and behaviors, which shall then entrench into a coaching culture.

Coaching as an Organizational Capability

 To instill the right values and behaviors and foster such a culture, organizations must treat coaching-mentoring as a capability in itself. This means that coaching-mentoring must be treated as a core managerial skill so that managers and coaches truly relate to the coaching culture and take proactive efforts to become effective coaches and mentors. For example, coaching and mentoring demand significant manager-time and attention, and in the business of day-to-day work, coaching-mentoring may take a slip. Hence, it is important to educate managers on the “why” i.e. show them the purpose. When managers and leaders coach or mentor with a clear purpose, they may be able to better see the collateral benefits of coaching-mentoring. A top-down inspiration also works well i.e. creating “coaching-mentoring models” in the top leadership, and constantly communicating how they connect with employees can make people realize that coaching-mentoring is a core organizational capability. Last but not the least, L&D needs to empower managers and leaders by making powerful digital tools available and accessible. Applying emerging technologies such as Big Data and Artificial Intelligence to coaching-mentoring tools can provide managers with real-time performance data. This, in turn, may encourage them to stop monitoring and controlling employees, and following a more developmental and democratic people-management approach. To encourage actual adoption, HR must educate managers to use and navigate the modules on learning tools and platforms, ideally in a multi-device setup. A seamless user-experience is first and foremost in creating a ‘pull’ towards coaching-mentoring.

Above all, coaching-mentoring learning-actions must be well-integrated with other talent functions and systems such as performance management systems, learning systems, total rewards systems, HRMS, etc. so that it is treated as a core organizational capability.

Coaching and mentoring is not a one-time intervention, it is an ongoing commitment involving the time, effort, and investment of employees, managers, and leaders alike. To truly imbibe coaching-mentoring as a part of the leadership development strategy, L&D must gain the continued buy-in of the CXO suite. L&D needs to build a solid business case, such that the cause of leadership development is co-owned by business, L&D, HR and top leadership,  and not just by L&D folks.


Sources / References:


  1. LinkedIn-Leading-with-Learning-Insights-and-Advice-Report -

March 25, 2021 - No Comments!

Digital Transformation Champion – A truly-effective transformation leader in the era of Digital.

Did you know that investments in Digital Transformation are expected to cross over $7.5 Trillion USD between 2021 and 2024?

Did you also know that only one in three Digital Transformation initiatives usually succeed?

Do you know what’s happened to the companies who have failed to transform themselves into Digital in the last few years?

During a global pandemic and a time of rapid organizational disruption, it is becoming inevitable for leaders in any organization to drive change initiatives while navigating increasingly complex and changing organizational structures, markets, and stakeholders. In an age where yesterday’s science fiction is becoming tomorrow’s history, organizations need champions for their digital transformations to build:

  • Digital Strategy
  • Digital Culture
  • Digital Capabilities


To help organizations prepare for this transformation, KNOLSKAPE presents Digital Transformation Champion simulation, a unique simulation to help organizations create Transformation Champions who can enroll their ecosystems into a new, digital paradigm when needed.

This simulation helps in building awareness on the following attributes of a transformation champion:

  • Understand and learn the importance of strategy, capability, and culture in getting digital change outcomes.
  • Understand the importance of ecosystem adoption in bringing organization-wide change.
  • Understand the importance of outside-in awareness of the digital trends and the changes to unlock the art of the possible, sources of customer value, and changes in business models.
  • Understand the importance of influencing stakeholders even in scenarios where they may not have direct authority. They are open to crossing boundaries within and outside the organization to orchestrate ideas, people, and resources to get things done.
  • Understand how to communicate important concepts/ideas using data.

Digital Transformation Champion simulation is based on some of the widely used and relevant frameworks.


  • ADKAR:
    The Prosci ADKAR® Model is one of the most widely requested and sought-after models for change management. The model offers a structured approach to ensure that each individual experiencing change moves through the five phases necessary to make overall change successful.

© Prosci, Inc.

  • Digital strategy + Digital Capabilities + Digital Culture = Digital Outcomes.In order to bring in a digital transformation change, every leader in the organization needs to build on the strategic alignment towards the initiative, develop capabilities needed to adapt to the change, build and maintain a culture that sustains the change.
  • DIGITAL BLUR. In a digital transformation scenario, a company needs to focus on all three in the right proportion to ensure a successful outcome – which might mean better customer-centricity, more innovation, greater profitability, and faster growth. Digital BLUR is a unique framework created by KNOLSKAPE to help organizations and individuals navigate the disruption caused by the digital revolution. It is the core premise of the book, “Clearing the Digital BLUR,” by KNOLSKAPE’s CEO, Rajiv Jayaraman. The Digital BLUR framework defines how to leverage existing and emerging tools of the Digital era to convince people of the merits of the transformation one wishes to bring about.

BLUR is an acronym that stands for

  • Boundaryless organizations - where the organizational boundaries are blurring away.
  • Limitless digitization - where the line between physical, digital, and biological is blurring away
  • Unbounded innovation - where industry boundaries are blurring away 
  • Relentless iteration - were time boundaries around the now, new, and the next are blurring away


The Digital Transformation Champion simulation gives players the chance to drive digital in a true-to-life ecosystem, with digital-age actions, immersive environments, and realistic interactions. At the end of the simulation, each champion gets a detailed report on their performance that can help them improve their skills even more.

Nurture your mission-critical leadership with KNOLSKAPE's brand new simulation - DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION CHAMPION to drive change initiatives in the digital era. 

March 23, 2021 - No Comments!

How-to Guide: Implementing Coaching & Mentoring in the workplace post COVID-19

implementing coaching and mentoring post covid-19

The year 2020 opened new realities as businesses had to adapt to the COVID-induced new normal. As entire nations went into lockdown and businesses shut down, virtually became the go-to way of working. While essential services continued the field, a huge segment of the employee population was forced to work remotely, almost overnight. Business priorities changed and new competencies emerged because employees had to rise up to the occasion and perform in earlier unheard-of ways. Moreover, organizations had to engage with these people differently, to keep them motivated in an impersonal virtual environment. Employee engagement, learning & development, and performance management took on a new avatar, as HR and business leaders strove to engage their people in the disruptive environment.

The L&D and Coaching-mentoring Outlook during COVID-19

66% of global L&D professionals agree that their function has become a much more strategic part of their organization. CXOs have reported a 3X increase in training efforts during the lockdown and have seen virtual learnings breaking down legacy barriers.

L&D took on a strategic role. The development focus increased, as upskilling and reskilling became a CXO agenda. As learning went virtual, eLearning solutions became mainstream. Organizations hustled to convert physical formats such as Instructor-Led Training (ILT) to virtual formats such as Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) and Self-paced learning. This was done across organizational levels, and especially for executive development, as leadership became a critical competency to ride over the crises. As managers we're expected to lead and coach their team members, L&D needed to design the learning experience while upholding the humane elements of mental health, happiness, and holistic well-being. Softer skills such as emotional resilience, mindfulness, and relearning emerged as critical future-skills. This demanded a coaching-mentoring developmental focus. During the pandemic, L&D professionals took to exploring the right learning experience platform to establish virtual coaching and virtual mentoring. This need remains in post-pandemic times too.

Step-by-step guide for implementing Coaching and Mentoring post COVID-19

Institutionalizing a virtual coaching and mentoring process should be a well thought through exercise:

  • Conceptualization: L&D must move away from the cookie-cutter approach and create a personalized and relatable learning experience for both learner and coach/mentor. The construct of coaching must be aligned with the business needs of the organization. Hence, L&D must work closely with the business and the C-suite at the concept stage to create business-relevant and engaging content.
  • Design: Coaching and mentoring modules must be ingrained in the virtual training platforms, by putting in place a proper process. L&D may choose to invest in existing coaching tools and mentoring tools, for which they should do a thorough assessment of digital learning solutions available in the market, to suit one’s talent outcomes. Many eLearning companies have coaching-mentoring modules as a part of their eLearning solutions, it is up to L&D leaders to don the business hat and identify what works for the business and what does not.
  • Initiation: Any learning intervention requires an extensive change management process for people to adopt and embrace it. Before directly implementing the coaching solution or mentoring solution, L&D must orient stakeholders to the new process through extensive education.
  • Implementation: An initial pilot test in any team or function can help gauge the readiness for pan-organization implementation. Technical implementation should be such that the tool provides a glitch-free and seamless user-experience because a great employee experience is essential to ensure the adoption of coaching-mentoring as a way of life. Above, all managers and leaders must take ownership and responsibility to coach their people, so HR must drive a formal process for coaching-mentoring.
  • Assessment: It is important to track learning progress through qualitative inputs and metrics. According to the Kirkpatrick model, L&D must try to achieve Level 3 (Behaviour) and Level 4 (Results) outcomes, but in the nascent stages, it is also important to track operational metrics such as completion rates. Seeking qualitative feedback also goes a long way in gaining useful behavioral insights and enabling continuous improvement in the process.


The Right Blend of High-Tech and High-Touch

The virtualization of coaching and mentoring is the way ahead. The efficiency and convenience of technological tools need to be balanced with the softer human-element. L&D needs to complement the tool-experience with timely and quality human interventions. L&D must build coaching as a core capability, by seeking the dedicated involvement of managers and leaders. Striking the right balance between high-tech and high-touch will help curate the best learning experience, and thereby encourage people to adopt a coaching ‘mindset’.

Fostering a Coaching Mindset

L&D and leaders’ roles do not end with implementing coaching and mentoring processes and tools. In fact, this is just the beginning. Coaching and mentoring success requires a ‘growth’ and ‘developmental’ mindset across employees, and this, in turn, demands an extensive change management exercise. For coaching to be entrenched as a core organizational capability, L&D must create a ‘pull’ by providing the best employee experience. Constant communication i.e. highlighting success stories, and portraying leaders as successful coaches and mentors, will make employees ‘aspire’ for the coaching or mentoring experience. Leaders may talk about their leadership journeys i.e. how coaching and mentoring helped them pave their careers the way they wanted while aligning with the business needs. Such communication must be backed up with the right educational resources to encourage people to adopt coaching and mentoring.

The impact of coaching and mentoring is not limited to mere leadership development training but extends to broader agendas such as employee engagement and wellbeing. Due to the decentralization of leadership, coaching-mentoring finds value across hierarchies and is a powerful tool for organization-wide people-transformation. Hence, L&D must constantly seek business buy-in to make it an integral part of the leadership development strategy.

Source and Reference

  1. LinkedIn-Leading-with-Learning-Insights-and-Advice-Report

March 17, 2021 - No Comments!

Transformation is Not Just Another Change

transformation is not just another change blog page banner

'Transformation' has become the buzzword over the last decade. Not just that, it has replaced 'change' in the business vocabulary. But are the two words the same in meaning and essence?

Before I say a big No, I think it is essential to make a case for both change and transformation and draw out the similarities and differences.

For the sake of an informed argument, let us first look at how each is defined and then call out the parameters on which we can compare the two.

In the dictionary, 'change' is described as 'to substitute or replace something.' Whereas 'Transformation' is defined as 'a complete change, usually into something with an improved appearance or usefulness.' 

These descriptions bring two pictures to my mind; that of a snake and a caterpillar. When a snake sheds its skin, it changes, but when a caterpillar emerges from a pupa and turns into a butterfly, it transforms.

Still, sounds similar?

Understanding the difference today is far more crucial than ever before, especially when enterprises are faced with two of the biggest challenges ever. The first, most unprecedented challenge is that of surviving the pandemic. And the second is of meeting and seizing the opportunity of digital business acceleration.

The sheer magnitude and complexity of these challenges call for a complete shift in how we do things and how we approach them. What has worked so far will not work anymore. With entire industries being reshaped, organizations must rethink their strategy, rebuild their leadership capabilities, reinforce their talent pools, and revamp their culture. That does not sound like a mere change now, does it?

Change can be small and incremental or large and complex. It emanates from the desire to do things differently, to achieve faster, cheaper, and better results. It needs constant monitoring and maintenance. It is limited to changes at the level of process or procedures. These processes and procedures have dedicated owners who continuously measure them against set metrics that point to continuous improvements. It is a short-term response to the market forces and is based on assumptions. It is not significant in impact as it is limited to the internal mechanics of an organization's functions.

E.g., Security upgrades, ERP software migration, entering new verticals based on past success in similar spaces.

Transformation, however, is almost always significant in its magnitude of impact. It demands a complete shift from what you have been so far and aimed for so far as an organization. The goals are not merely incremental but completely new. Unlike change, which is based on past success stories, transformation is a quantum shift from what you did or were before. The point of reference is from this time on. It is future-looking.

To be able to do something completely different, anew, requires a fundamental evolution. Transformation requires modifying core beliefs and long-term behaviors, sometimes in profound ways, to achieve the desired results. You begin by questioning why you do what you do and the way you do it. It is an inward-facing exercise requiring a complete overhaul of an organization's makeup, strategy, capability, and culture. Since it alters the organization's carbon, it has a far-reaching impact on the entire organization and the ecosystem the organization thrives in.

In the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic, companies quickly shifted to a work-from-home model. This was a momentary change in the way they operated. The idea was to go back to the way we worked before, as soon as we overcome the problem at hand. But Slack's announcement that they are permanently moving to a hybrid workforce model that eliminates the idea of 'headquarters' as the heart of its operations in June 2020 is a transformation.

Digital change and digital transformation each have a different focus. While moving to cloud-based project management will deliver efficiency is a change initiative, increasing data performance through migration to the cloud is a transformation. Entering new markets based on historic data is change, but big-data-driven marketing automation is transformation.

In simple terms, when you improve processes and procedures intending to be efficient by upgrading technology, you are undertaking change. But when you leverage technology in every aspect of your business and fundamentally rethink how you work with it and through it, it is a transformation.

It is the intent and magnitude of shift and impact that sets the two apart. And these examples clearly show that: change is a short-term enabler that helps an organization quickly adapt or respond to external factors like trends and shifting demands; transformation, however, redefines what success looks like and how you plan to get there.

February 24, 2021 - No Comments!

How Individual Change Readiness Enables a Smooth Transformation

When organizations undertake a transformation initiative, research shows these efforts fail 70% of the time. Transformational change requires individuals to behave differently. They should be able to accept it and be ready to surge ahead with it. You name their degree of acceptance and alignment as their Change Readiness. It is key to the success of the transformation at hand.

However, getting everyone on the same page and surge ahead with the same enthusiasm is a tough nut to crack. We are talking about people, each with their agendas, aspirations, fears, and beliefs.

This means that leaders must address how people think and act in their day-to-day work. They need to make a compelling case for change and serve as a role model who will inspire others to adopt new behaviors. Else, the change will be temporary, and the gains will fitter away quickly, leaving a sour taste in everyone’s mouth.

Not everyone receives to change the same way, so a ‘One for All’ approach will not reap results.

Therefore, the first step is to understand where on the change curve do people in your organization stand before you try to address their needs. And then follow up with an approach that works for them.

Nothing works better than looking at examples to understand something and devise strategies that work.

The most relatable situation at hand is that of organizations trying to figure out how best to respond to the changed realities post the pandemic. Both organizations and people within the organizations have reacted with anger, fear, and denial to the economic disruption and health impacts of the pandemic.

The way we work changed as everyone was asked to work from home, till we figured out a solution to this grave situation. Here are some of the responses from employees (anonymous):

"What is happening to humankind is really sad. Everything is locked down. My life is locked down. My career is locked down. God, what will I do?"

This whole pandemic is going to doom our business and cost us millions. Why didn’t we see this coming? Who are these people who spread this virus?

This lockdown is painful, and everyone wants to get back to work and earn a living, but that's the only way to control the number of casualties.

 This is what is happening, and we need to accept this reality. It is time to be proactive and respond with the right measures. We will be able to sail through if we act fast.

Take a closer look, and you will realize that each response is unique and indicates a different level of acceptance to change. Looking at these responses through the Kübler-Ross Change model lens can help us empathize and strategize our approach to such scenarios.


Kübler-Ross Change Model


Response Stage 1: As people are in a state of shock and denial, they will resist accepting facts at face value. As a leader, you need to initiate communication with your team members. To help them overcome denial, you must aim to listen to their pain points or beliefs, educate them about the changes, and be prepared to take feedback on possible strategies to deal with the situation at hand.

Response Stage 2: At this stage, there is still anger and fear, so you must give time and space. Watch them closely, listen to their concerns and build the support necessary to help them overcome their fears and calm their anger towards the unprecedented situation.

Response Stage 4: As people commit to rebuilding and recouping by putting their weight behind change initiatives, a pat on the back, appreciation, and even rewards go a long way in pushing their motivation levels up. Celebrate their effort, will, and outcomes. Ensure all policies, procedures, and general structure mirror the new changes and they’re adhered to. Continuously demand high standards and reward new behaviors. Look forward, not back.

Remember, as digital transformation initiatives are implemented, individuals go through change at scale- individually and collectively. A leader must understand that people do not go through a change in a linear, step-by-step fashion. They tend to move through the stages in random order and may sometimes even lapse to a previous stage after a certain point in time. Therefore, it is vital that the right strategies are tailored to meet individuals' needs as they cope with the changes necessary for a successful transformation effort.

People are learning to cope with something as tricky as a global pandemic with help from their community and governments. Coping with a digital transformation might be comparatively manageable if you have a strategy to help them cruise through the change curve strategically. Don't you think?


KNOLSKAPE is one of the fastest-growing experiential learning tech companies in the world. KNOLSKAPE accelerates employee growth and Development using an award-winning portfolio of simulations and  in-depth talent analytics. KNOLSKAPE is a 110+ strong team with offices in  Singapore, India, Malaysia, and USA serving a rapidly growing global  client base across industries such as banking and finance,  consulting, IT, FMCG, retail, manufacturing, infrastructure,  pharmaceuticals, engineering, auto, government and academia.  KNOLSKAPE is a global Top 20 gamification company, recipient of  Brandon Hall awards, and has been recognized as a company to watch  for in the Talent Management Space, by Frost & Sullivan, and as a disruptor in  the learning space, by Bersin by Deloitte.

February 15, 2021 - No Comments!

Ways to see through a successful digital transformation

"The only constant in life is change."

- Heraclitus

Digital transformation image

This is a quote we've all grown up listening to, and yet we don't always manage to respond to it positively or proactively. We are who we are as a race, thanks to this constant change and our transformation in response. The inability to change, progress, or grow can result in stagnation.  If we were to sit with our hands crossed and do nothing about it, change has the capability of rendering us redundant.

"When the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near."

These words of wisdom of Jack Welch became the reality of more than 52% of the Fortune 500 companies that ceased to exist due to digital disruption since 2000.

Even before a pandemic, organization leaders ranked digital disruption as their top business priority for 2020. And as we enter 2021, COVID-19 has escalated digital initiatives into digital imperatives, creating an urgent need to rethink strategy, leadership capabilities, and culture.

So, what is Digital? Is it a social media presence? Or mobile technology?

Digital is not a thing. It is a foundational change in how an organization delivers value to its customers.

It is a way of using technology to achieve three objectives:

  • Create exceptional customer experiences
  • Make internal processes agile
  • Unlock new business value

To understand precisely What is Digital? How is it disrupting every industry? And how can you leverage technology to create exceptional customer experiences, make internal processes agile and unlock new business value? Watch this video where Rajiv Jayaraman, Founder & CEO, KNOLSKAPE, explains these concepts and more


How is Digital transforming our reality?

Technology is blurring the boundaries between physical and digital, between organizations, between the Now and the Next quite rapidly. So much so that we see entire industries being disrupted within months rather than years. And it is this phenomenon that Rajiv Jayaraman refers to as the Digital BLUR in his book, Clearing the Digital BLUR™.

BLUR stands for:

Boundaryless Organization – today organizations operate more like organisms in boundaryless ecosystems.

Limitless Digitization - everything is beginning to have a parallel existence in the cloud.

Unbounded innovation – as customer experience becomes more important, industry boundaries become less meaningful.

Relentless Iteration – as time gets crunched. Now, new and next start to happen all at the same time.

To respond to the Digital BLUR™ phenomenon, organizations must completely rewire their strategies, how these strategies get executed, the leadership competencies, and the organization's culture.

Why do you need to respond?

Business leaders are well aware that Digital transformation not only impacts industry structures and strategic positioning, but it affects all levels of an organization (every task, activity, process) and even its extended supply chain. They must ensure that they leverage this change to unlock productivity gains and significant competitive advantage while delivering exceptional customer experience. And with this in mind, a lot of digital transformation initiatives are being led and funded.

However, these digital transformation initiatives have not been easy to realize. According to the McKinsey research on digital transformation efforts, only 30% of Digital Transformations are successful.

Why do Digital transformation initiatives fail?

We must try to understand the reason behind the failure of these initiatives.

These initiatives are certainly not bad ideas. The problem is that they are badly championed.

Let's take the example of Ford motor company. In an attempt for digital transformation, they created a new segment called Ford Smart Mobility in 2014. The goal was to build digitally-enabled cars with enhanced mobility. The issues arose when the company did not integrate the new segment into the rest of FORD. Not only was it headquartered far from the rest of the company, but it was also seen as a separate entity with no cohesion to other business units. As Ford pumped vast amounts of money into its new venture, it faced quality concerns in other areas of the company. Ford's stock price dropped considerably, and their CEO stepped down a few years later.

The lesson:

To drive a transformation of this magnitude, digital transformation needs to be integrated into the company's DNA. You need to garner the alignment and commitment of all your stakeholders. You must take a three-pronged approach involving Strategy, Culture, and Capability:


The existing strategy must be replaced by a new one that is more closely aligned to a Digital ecosystem's opportunities and challenges. Seek answers to these critical questions:

  • What does this new direction mean for us as an organization? Where is this taking us?
  • What are our long-term prospects if we switch?
  • These answers will help you discover possibilities that can be unlocked by being Digital.

Transformations ask for shifts, and shifts need a buy-in of your people, their alignment, and commitment. Culturally, stakeholders at all levels will need to change how they think and operate to discover more possibilities that can be unlocked by being Digital. And this is only possible when you:

  • Create an Awareness of the need for change
  • Generate a Desire to support the change
  • Share the Knowledge of how to change
  • Develop an Ability to demonstrate skills & behaviors
  • Invest in Reinforcement to make change stick.



As digital reshapes strategy, its execution requires enabling people and updating processes and technology to build new-age capabilities so that they can turn these possibilities into reality.

As a leader, you need to make significant progress on all three to be able to convince your stakeholders and propel them on the path of transformation.

In our upcoming writeups, we will cover Strategy, Culture, and Capability transformation in depth. Do look out for them!


digital transformation product launch knolskape banner image


KNOLSKAPE is one of the fastest-growing experiential learning tech companies in the world. KNOLSKAPE accelerates employee growth and Development using an award-winning portfolio of simulations and  in-depth talent analytics. KNOLSKAPE is a 110+ strong team with offices in  Singapore, India, Malaysia, and USA serving a rapidly growing global  client base across industries such as banking and finance,  consulting, IT, FMCG, retail, manufacturing, infrastructure,  pharmaceuticals, engineering, auto, government and academia.  KNOLSKAPE is a global Top 20 gamification company, recipient of  Brandon Hall awards, and has been recognized as a company to watch  for in the Talent Management Space, by Frost & Sullivan, and as a disruptor in  the learning space, by Bersin by Deloitte.

January 19, 2021 - No Comments!

The Power Of A Compelling Vision For Your Team

Author Aditi A Kashyap

"If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."

-, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French writer

compelling vision for the team

As a leader, you need to actively keep your and your teams' efforts aligned to the broad organizational vision. If you don't, your team will consist of rudderless employees who don't understand where the company is going or what they are trying to achieve. They will struggle to engage in their work, collaborate effectively across teams, and make informed decisions quickly.

When a leader has a clear foresight as to where he wants to steer his ship, the people who work for the leader are in a far more comfortable place to understand that their efforts are fruitful, and it gives them the confidence that they are heading in the right direction. According to a Harvard Business Review survey, 72% of the respondents expected their leader to be forward-looking and a visionary.

A leader with a clear vision can engage both the imagination and his people's energies. As Peter Drucker notes, "An effective leader knows that the ultimate task of leadership is to create human energies and human vision." Tying the vision to what the organization and its people value most helps garner everyone’s commitment to realizing it.

Here's why a leader needs to create a compelling vision statement and follow through with it.

  1. Gives the team direction
  2. Motivates the team members
  3. Allows better planning and execution
  4. Helps track progress


  1. Gives the team direction – The team always looks up to their leader for direction and guidance. You need to continually reiterate the vision and align individual goals to ensure that all energies are unified in the same direction. Every strategy you devise and every task you undertake has a purpose. Aligning each activity's very purpose to the larger organizational vision makes it meaningful and helps realize it.
  2. Motivates the team members – Well-aligned and clear goals motivate team members to deliver better, especially when they help identify and map their individual efforts for a larger cause. Being able to see what they contribute to gives them a sense of fulfillment and pride. Creating a supportive environment by providing resources such as materials, assistance, and information can further motivate team members.
  3. Allows better planning and execution - The leader should come up with a development plan to achieve the set objectives. Before devising a plan of action on achieving the goals, leaders must evaluate each team member's skill and motivation levels. Assigning the right team members to the appropriate assignment should be a project goal for team leaders.
  4. Helps track progress - To assure the success of a project, team leaders should monitor each team member's progress and the project's overall progress. Evaluating the group's success at various stages in the project ensures the team stays on track and reaches a conclusion on time and within a budget. The goal of team leaders is to ensure the project is moving forward towards completion.

Keep in mind the following points when developing a vision statement for your team:

Make the vision statement clear and easy to understand

The vision statement should be concise and no longer than a sentence or two. It should be specific and must align with the company's long-term vision.

Bridge the present and the future

Your vision statement should provide a picture of the future. It helps describes your organization's direction or goal and the means of accomplishing it. It guides the work of the organization. The vision should be compelling enough to inspire, motivate, and engage people.

Make it ambitious

An ambitious vision statement that is not limited by current circumstances or by what is perceived as possible indicates that your organization aims high and demands high-performance standards from the team members. Use powerful words and vivid phrases to articulate the kind of team you are trying to become.

Clarify direction and purpose

Clarify the team's current state and the envisioned future state. Create systems that will enable your team to track their goals and progress. This creates a culture of accountability around the vision that has been set.

Set a standard of excellence

Reward behaviors and performance of those who are consistently meeting targets. Besides, as a leader, you need to lead by example. Emulate those behaviors that are required to drive optimal performance in the team.


One of your main tasks as a leader is to motivate your team members to collaborate and get things done that help achieve the overall organizational objectives. It would be best if you spent sufficient time creating a compelling vision for your team that aligns with the organization's vision to ensure that the team focuses on common goals and works together to accomplish them.


KNOLSKAPE is one of the fastest-growing experiential learning tech companies in the world. KNOLSKAPE accelerates employee growth and Development using an award-winning portfolio of simulations and  in-depth talent analytics. KNOLSKAPE is a 110+ strong team with offices in  Singapore, India, Malaysia, and USA serving a rapidly growing global  client base across industries such as banking and finance,  consulting, IT, FMCG, retail, manufacturing, infrastructure,  pharmaceuticals, engineering, auto, government and academia.  KNOLSKAPE is a global Top 20 gamification company, recipient of  Brandon Hall awards, and has been recognized as a company to watch  for in the Talent Management Space, by Frost & Sullivan, and as a disruptor in  the learning space, by Bersin by Deloitte.

January 6, 2021 - No Comments!

Ways You Can Let Your Team Members Know That You Trust Them

Author Aditi A Kashyap

"Hi, I am Manoj. I recently got promoted to a managerial role owing to my high-performance last year. I have five people reporting to me. I was initially excited to lead my team, but as days pass by, a manager's role is becoming very stressful for me to handle. I often end up staying up in the wee hours of the morning, trying to finish my team members' tasks. I don't trust some of them in my team to finish this within the deadline. Moreover, I feel I am more skilled than some of them to do the tasks more efficiently. I am not sure if I am being a good leader and delegating tasks well! I am frustrated as well as confused. What do I do?"

Why trusting in your team members’ abilities is an integral part of delegation v1

Do you find yourself resonating with Manoj's situation? When you transitioned to a manager's role from an individual contributor, did you also have difficulty trusting your team members to do their jobs better to accomplish overall team goals?

As a manager, a difficult transition that you might most often face is from doing tasks individually to leading team members to accomplish their tasks. Maximizing leadership potential involves engaging people so that they contribute their best work to your shared priorities. It is important not to let the focus on execution hold you back from the big-picture work of leading. You need to understand that delegation does not mean directing people on how to do the tasks or taking tasks on yourself due to lack of time or lack of trust in your team members' abilities. Instead, it is about assigning tasks to bring out the best in the people who are doing the job.

One study found how there is a psychological bias at play when managers are delegating work to their team members:

  1. The self-enhancement effect- A manager’s tendency to evaluate a work product more highly the more involved he/she is in its production
  2. The faith in supervision effect- The tendency to think work performed under the control of a supervisor is better than work performed without as much supervision

As a manager, it’s essential to be mindful of these biases, which could be at play when delegating tasks.

Ernest Hemingway said, “You know what is the best way to find out if you can trust somebody? To trust them”. Like Manoj, if you find yourself being less trustful in your team members’ abilities to do their tasks well, you are indirectly killing their enthusiasm to do what they are good at. The first and foremost step in delegation is trusting and inspiring others, not underestimating their qualities and instead focusing on their positive attributes to accomplish tasks.

Here are some surefire ways you can let your team members know that you trust them

  1. Delegate tedious tasks: These are mindless tasks that require little skill and can be easily delegated. Tasks such as copying data to excel or sorting information on a tool can be delegated and done without much mental effort.
  2. Give more responsibility: Create a culture of challenge in your team. Seek out individuals in your team who consistently hit goals and give them tasks that further challenge their abilities. Make their goals healthily stretch their comfort zone. Show them that you are genuinely interested in their professional development.
  3. Ask for inputs: Make your team members be part of the decision-making process. When taking a significant business decision, seek your team members' opinions and ask them what they think, what solutions they might offer, and how they would do things differently or better.
  4. Seek feedback: Don’t get caught up in merely giving directions and feedback. You need to be aware of how you are viewed by your team and your performance as a leader. Ask if you are doing anything that is getting in the way of your team members’ performance.
  5. Avoid micromanagement: (Unless required). Give your team members’ the authority to complete their tasks fully without you having to check on them for every detail.
  6. Be accessible at all times: Some of your team members might struggle with their tasks and might hesitate to reach out to you for help. Set expectations at the outset that you are available to help at all times concerning their grey areas. Create a culture where team members feel free and open to seeking your help without having to think twice as to what you might perceive them. People need to know that you are available to support them.

As a manager, you need to trust yourself first to make the right decision by delegating tasks to your team members and then trusting them enough to do their job well. You can do this by clearly outlining what needs to be done and establishing the importance of the task. Be clear about expectations and set an atmosphere wherein your team members feel free to ask questions. In this way, you will be clear to make more focused decisions with better outcomes.

Influence & Build Trust with KNOLSKAPE's Trust Simulation

Trust Simulation develops scenarios to influence and build trust with your stakeholders. It focuses on Relationship Styles, Power Map, and Building Trust. Relationship Styles helps one understand the drivers of the stakeholders, Power Map aids in identifying the relationship between stakeholders, and Building Trust using Trust Equation concepts.



KNOLSKAPE is one of the fastest-growing experiential learning tech companies in the world. KNOLSKAPE accelerates employee growth and Development using an award-winning portfolio of simulations and  in-depth talent analytics. KNOLSKAPE is a 110+ strong team with offices in  Singapore, India, Malaysia, and USA serving a rapidly growing global  client base across industries such as banking and finance,  consulting, IT, FMCG, retail, manufacturing, infrastructure,  pharmaceuticals, engineering, auto, government and academia.  KNOLSKAPE is a global Top 20 gamification company, recipient of  Brandon Hall awards, and has been recognized as a company to watch  for in the Talent Management Space, by Frost & Sullivan, and as a disruptor in  the learning space, by Bersin by Deloitte.

December 16, 2020 - No Comments!

A Closer Look at Managerial Coaching

Author Aditi A Kashyap

“I got a call from Janet this morning. She was feeling overwhelmed. With a six-year-old boy to take care of who constantly needs her attention, Janet was telling me how she was finding it increasingly difficult to manage childcare and work duties. She told me she needed assistance in prioritizing everything better. I understood her issue in an empathetic manner, and I suggested that I would coach her in the days to follow”. 
a closer look at managerial coaching

Are you a manager wondering how you can help your team member virtually to achieve optimal performance? As a result of the pandemic, are your team members facing new work issues that require you to coach? Is it difficult for you to understand how you can manage your team members' virtual behaviors that are befitting their role? We are all remotely working from home. With no face-to-face contact with our managers, they have no visibility of our on-the-job behaviors. We are all distributed, which is making coaching more essential than ever. Employees are the company's most valuable assets, and managers should invest enough time and resources in helping their team succeed in this crisis.

Restoking career and professional development conversations are critical as the COVID-19 crisis continues. As a manager, you need to be armed with the right skills to be a good coach virtually. Using a structured methodology to support developmental conversations can make a massive difference in how productive your employees become.

When dealing with a crisis like this, managers have to help their team members reflect on their current situation, decide on what they want to achieve, lay milestones for achievement and commit to the way ahead. Coaching can help you peer through the fog of uncertainty. As team members are grappling with making life and work fit together, a manager comes in to create and sustain healthy relationships based on trust and a shared understanding of the context. Managers should play the role of trusted confidants who have the best interests of the individual and the organization at all times.

Understanding the GROW Model of Coaching

GROW stands for – Goal- Reality- Options and Way Forward in the GROW model of coaching. When dealing with times of stress like this pandemic, the model provides employees and managers with a transparent system to follow to set and achieve their goals and is particularly useful in reducing the amount of catastrophizing the situation currently being experienced. Clarity about where to go and how to get there will empower your people to navigate difficult circumstances.

Given the magnitude of the change circumstance, what is the context you have to bear in mind while coaching using the GROW model?

Goal: understand that a changed circumstance leads to a changed goal. As a manager, consider your own goals and ask your team member to reflect on what they want to achieve. The goal should ideally be attainable yet motivating.

Reality: The current reality is that we are grappling with the pandemic, and we have made a lot of changes in our personal and professional lives. Understand from your team member what their current reality looks and feels like and how they are operating in the same

Options: Given the times we are operating in, you need to ask difficult questions such as as-, "If you are not able to reach this goal, what might you do"?

Way forward: Ask questions such as-, "What are some steps you would take to move towards your chosen path in a positive direction?".

As managers, you need to connect with your team members regularly on a much deeper level more than ever, which calls for asking open-ended questions to help your team member develop their solutions. You should play an active role in mitigating your team member's fears by demonstrating empathy and providing a safe space for them to discuss their thoughts and feelings openly.

Coach & Manage Performance with KNOLSKAPE'S Coaching Simulation

The Coaching Sim helps managers learn the essentials of coaching and apply it in a safe, real-life like environment. Coaching is a complex skill, as a coach should not only motivate the team but also master the nuances of dealing with the inner emotions of a team member. The Coaching Sim has all these complexities built into itself, thereby making the learner exercise his faculty fully to have a successful coaching conversation.



KNOLSKAPE is one of the fastest-growing experiential learning tech companies in the world. KNOLSKAPE accelerates employee growth and Development using an award-winning portfolio of simulations and  in-depth talent analytics. KNOLSKAPE is a 110+ strong team with offices in  Singapore, India, Malaysia, and USA serving a rapidly growing global  client base across industries such as banking and finance,  consulting, IT, FMCG, retail, manufacturing, infrastructure,  pharmaceuticals, engineering, auto, government and academia.  KNOLSKAPE is a global Top 20 gamification company, recipient of  Brandon Hall awards, and has been recognized as a company to watch  for in the Talent Management Space, by Frost & Sullivan, and as a disruptor in  the learning space, by Bersin by Deloitte.

aditi kashyap roubd logoAbout the Author

Aditi A Kashyap is a Senior Associate, Marketing at KNOLSKAPE. Her interest to write about learning and development trends comes fuelled by her professional background as a learning consultant having a keen interest to understand a learner’s psyche.