Innovation and Bossing must go together

With a team where the average age is 24 and with an MD (35 years) younger than the level 2 team executives (the functional heads reporting to the MD i.e. the departmental heads) one needs to set a culture of openness. Mostly what obstruct an open culture are misgivings and assumptions that employee harbors. This happens if employees do not appreciate each other’s strengths and weaknesses. And it is very essential that the functional heads at level 2 are completely aware of their colleague weaknesses primarily as strengths will be obviously seen. The very first thing ItzCash did was a personal SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses Opportunities, and Threats) and analysis of the immediate level 2 team after 6 months of the team being in place. The level 2 team was asked to join in the conference room and the session began first with an analysis. Along with his team and the MD, he even jotted down some of his weaknesses thus helping the team to open up. Talking directly to the employees helps the CEO in grasping the emotions which are the only yardstick to measure employee engagement. So bypassing senior managers in an open environment is seen as creating strong bonds, whereas in any other organizational environment, it is seen as investigative probing. ItzCash had a situation where a competitive company was trying to poach employees from higher to lower hierarchies with 3X packages. However, ItzCash did not lose a single employee to the competitor who happened to be a fairly big industry player. The employees at each hierarchy informed their reporting bosses of the competitors’ attempt. If an open communication wasn’t encouraged this wouldn’t have been possible.

Mahindra & Mahindra has a comprehensive communication plan for connecting with employee on one to one basis one too few and one too many. They have branded their communication as ‘Insync’ with a tagline, Aligning Thoughts, Inspiring Actions the objective being if our communications are effective, it will definitely help on converging thoughts thus creating alignment and inspiring people to get into action. At Mahindra & Mahindra a cross section of employee, across functions and hierarchical levels is taken on stratified random sampling basis and informal discussion are held over tea to understand perception of employees on a wide variety of issue. The one to one meetings are typically net chats which are held by the president and his direct reports, once a month, in rotation. We also have a personal email id where employees can send emails pertaining to any issues, directly to the president of senior VP Human Capital and their identities are kept confidential. There have been instances where employees have also unearthed unhealthy practices which have been stopped.

It’s therefore evident that CEOs are not just paying lip service when they claim to follow am open door policy. After all, calling your boss by his/her first name is no longer a fad but sharing your grievances with him/her over a cutting tea glass at the roadside Tea stall certainly is.

CEOs must think broadly, act personally and manage the innovation mix to make the business model deeply different. Ignite innovation through business and technology integration.

A few years from now, most business organizations in the world would be unrecognizable from the way they do business and perhaps even from their products line-up, a new survey predicts. A research study by IBM which polled 765 CEOs, business executives and public leaders, found that two out of every three expected fundamental changes in their organizations over the next two years.
“Think big and bold. Our future depends on it,” IBM says in the report that identifies collaboration, partnering and technology integration as inexorably linked to innovation.

The setting is the rise of new economies like China and India, technological advances, intensified competition and globalization. The forces overturning the status quo are many and varied. At the top of their list, CEOs mentioned market forces such as intensified competition, escalating customer expectations and unexpected market shifts.

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