After twenty eight years with HCL Technologies, Vineet Nayar stepped down as CEO in order to pursuit his philanthropy venture ‘Sampark Foundation’.
At the TISS OD & Change Conference, Transcendence 2017, Vineet Nayar shared some valuable thought nuggets.
An organization is formed when collective set of people come together for a purpose. Business is not sustainable when that purpose is solely profit. The key is in accepting that profit is not all-encompassing, and that we need to balance profit with a higher purpose. Only then, the business undergoes a transformation.
In the initial British Raj era, not all people were unhappy. However, with changing times and with stringent dogma, people became distressed. When Mahatma Gandhi returned back to India, Indians immediately accepted him as an inspirational leader and followed his inspirational ideology of non-violence. Here, Nayar propels us to question, why it did it take three decades for India to find a leader? This is because, Gandhi through his inspirational leadership and ideology, pulled people into the independence struggle. Gandhi’s ideologies wouldn’t have worked if people were not involved.
Nayar believes, transformation is a factor of Leader, Idea and People. Organizations fail when people are not carried forward.
Employee First; Customers Second
Business is all about creating value for the customers. Creating value is not management’s role. It is an employee’s role. So, what is management’s role? The management encourages it’s employees to jump out of their skins with excitement and provide new solutions to the customers.
The Employee First; Customer Second (EFCS) initiative at HCL focuses on actively helping employees in making it easier for them to do their jobs and respecting them for the value they bring to the company. EFCS holds that when employees are passionate about their work, their enthusiasm is reflected in their customer centricity.
When asked does EFCS really work? To this Nayar claimed that HCL is the only IT company which has not seen any negative growth in a quarter!
Transformation by Sampark Foundation
According to an all-India Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) survey of school kids in the rural areas found that only 58% of children enrolled in class 3 to 5 could read a class one text. More than half were unable to do simple two-digit subtractions and only half the children in class 5 to 8 knew how to use a calendar.
Vineet Nayar’s inspirational idea of transforming learning through an interactive kit that uses various child-friendly teaching aids to make learning fun, easy and interactive for kids, would not be possible without having the active participation of teachers. Sampark foundation actively trained teachers using the Audio Box – which they call ‘Sampark Didi’ .
As a result, classroom became exciting and teachers started receiving respect and love from the students. Something that they had not experienced before!
It was only when teachers were actively involved, did the transformation took place!
Organizations recognize that victory is contingent on how capable their people are. They realize that poached employees are not necessarily equipped with the desired skills. The key lies in developing staff to meet the requirements of the organization. Dr R Sridhar, Executive Vice President, ITC Ltd, addressed this theme of developing critical capabilities at the October event organised by Thane HR, a group dedicated to bring together the HR talent pool to a common platform.
“While planning for new ventures, the companies plan for market potentials, technologies, products & services. I am yet to find a company that devices ‘capabilities’ well in advance”, says Dr Sridhar.
Dr R Sridhar, Executive VP , ITC on Capability Development at Thane HR
Below are the significant take-away from the Event:
Have a Portfolio of Capabilities
The audience agreed that a sustainable future is only possible if organizations can sense, adapt, and respond to change. Dr Sridhar, therefore, advised on applying a portfolio of capabilities. This helps to ensure that the capabilities are in place, not only to run the business today but also to meet the demands of tomorrow.
Acting on the Values
Value statement are not flamboyant promotional statements. Organizations, today, lack the mechanisms to translate values to actions. Dr Sridhar advises –
1. Values cannot be “set”:
Organizational values needs to be discovered. They must be found in the people working for the organization and their family background. The value finding process move upwards, starting from the individual level to the organizational level.
2. Leader’s need to subscribe the values:
Leaders are the role models. When they are consistent and follow the values, the values get translated to the bottom level. However, when leader’s selectively implement the values, those values do not reflect at the bottom level.
ITC’s Remarkable Pune Laboratory
Problems at the former Bombay Plant:
When ITC’s Bombay plant was decided to be shifted to Pune, it became crucial to bring solutions to the two prevailing problems. Those problems were:-
It was a ‘Control Based Factory’, following the Theory X principles.
There was a lot of Status Quo due to the hierarchical organization structure.
3 Solutions at the novel Pune Plant:
Three significant experiments carried out by ITC at its new Pune Plant were:-
Adopt a Lean Organizational Structure
Central challenge was to transform the ‘Control Based Factory’ into a ‘Commitment Based Factory’. This was done through breaking the status quo arising from the layers of hierarchies. At the new Pune Plant, a simple division was made between the designations and workers are categories either as ‘Technical Associates’ or ‘Production Associates’.
Co-managing the Responsibility
“All IR problems begin at the Canteen. Similar was the case at the Bombay plant as well.”, laughed Dr Sridhar. Employees were made a part of the various committees. This was done to create an ownership culture amongst the employees.
Converting Problems into a Learning Laboratory
Dr Sridhar firmly advocated the need for experimentation and continuous learning. He suggests that, “to be able to manage the learning at a factory, you have to be a learner yourself. Learning and experimentation have to become a way of life!” Therefore, it was decided that the Pune Factory of ITC will become a Laboratory for the various management initiatives.
Changes made at the New Pune Plant of ITC to solve the problems that the former Bombay Plant faced.
To sustain competitive advantage for large organizations like ITC, it becomes crucial to reinvent its processes. This can happen through Learning and Experimentation, which Dr Sridhar suggests, should become a way of life. An example of success is the ITC’s Pune Plant experiment.
About Thane HR Group
Thane HR Group was founded in the year 1996 with an objective of getting the HR Professionals staying or working in Thane District on a common HR platform. Over a period of 18 years, Thane HR Group had many HR experience sharing meeting. Thane HR has successfully arranged for more than 150 such programs, absolutely free of cost!
You can connect to Thane HR Group through the following website –
About LNML Maharashtra Institute of Labour Studies
LNML Maharashtra Institute of Labour Studies is an independent department under Maharashtra Labour Ministry. It is one of its kinds in the field of labour studies. It has a glorious past of 67 years and has emerged as a stronger body which has contributed to the economy and industry in many ways.
You can connect to LNML Maharashtra Institute of Labour Studies through the following website –