We were put here as witnesses to the miracle of life. We see the stars, and we want them. We are beholden to give back to the universe…. If we make landfall on another star system, we become immortal. Ray Bradbury Speech to National School Board Association (1995)
Ray Bradbury died today. I love his work: his defense of books, his fight against censorship, and above all the notions of the miraculous future that would unfold before my eyes as I grew. He was one of the writers that made me excited about the future, made me more conscious of the dark dehumanizing side of technology, one of the architects of the “What Ifs” that still guide my daily creative explorations and the provider of some of the more accessible componentry of my moral compass.
Here’s one of my favourites, I posted this to David Gillespie just the other day: Doing is Being
Doing is being.
To have done’s not enough.
To stuff yourself with doing — that’s the game.
To name yourself each hour by what’s done,
To tabulate your time at sunset’s gun
And find yourself in acts
You could not know before the facts
You wooed from secret self, which much needs wooing,
So doing brings it out,
Kills doubt by simply jumping, rushing, running
Forth to be
The new-discovered me.
To not do is to die,
Or lie about and lie about the things
You just might do some day.
Away with that!
Tomorrow empty stays
If no man plays it into being
With his motioned way of seeing.
Let your body lead your mind –
Blood the guide dog to the blind;
So then practice and rehearse
To find heart-soul’s universe,
Knowing that by moving/seeing
Proves for all time: Doing’s being!
Its running as a pre-roll on YouTube, it’s over 2 minutes- and it’s been played (in addition to its ad spend) 1.775 million times since its launch in February.
Its 8 am… MILLIONS of EMPLOYEES.. show up each day..for their names on a register…. The world we see around us..countries..and ..continents..have been built.. on the back of these signatures.. The future too will be written by these signatures.. Signatures of the EMPLOYEES… You.. are an EMPLOYEE.. Your BOSS is an EMPLOYEE… …….. … TRUTH is every EMPLOYEE is a HERO… Enough said… Let’s go do…what we all do our best.. Let’s go to work.. A TRIBUTE TO THE MAKERS OF OUR WORLD.
It’s a big call. A very big call. Who are these HCL guys? Who are they to say they speak on behalf of the millions of employees who turn up to work each day? Who are they to champion the overworked and unsung?
A bit of digging….
Employees First Customers Second (EFCS) is a journey of experiments which HCL started in 2005. It is a simple philosophy that, at its heart, states that in the service industry, true value is not created by top management. Since employees are the closest interface with the customer, they are the new ‘value zone’ for companies: the place where value is truly generated for customers. And it is therefore the duty of the rest of the organization to foster and engender this value zone by creating the requisite enabling infrastructure.
The idea came from observing our company closely. We create value in one very specific place: the interface between our HCL employees and our customers. We call this the “value zone.” Every employee who works in the value zone is capable of creating more or less value. The whole intent of Employees First is to do everything we can to enable those employees to create the most possible value.
- to put its employees first and made every effort to provide them with a work environment and culture that they can take pride in.
- employee development focused on giving people the tools and enabling the infrastructure they needed to succeed
EFCS is not about making employees happy or comfortable. I don’t even really care if employees are happy. I don’t think that employee “satisfaction” is something a company should strive for. Satisfaction is a passive state, isn’t it? Satisfaction doesn’t produce change or improvement or innovation or much of anything.
As for employee “engagement,” that isn’t much better than satisfaction. I would hope that everybody, no matter what their job is, would be alert and paying some attention to what they do, would be engaged.
We have found that the Employees First approach produce s far more passion than any motivational or recognition program. Why? Because it proves that management understands the importance of the work being done by the employees in the value zone. It demonstrates that we are actively helping them in ways that make it easier for them to do their jobs. It shows that we trust them to do what needs to be done in the way they believe it should be done. And it shows that we respect them for the value they bring to the company.
We give them understanding, help, trust and respect–which is much better than potato salad and cold cuts.
The key enablers that made EFCS work -
- Smart Service Desk (SSD) was introduced to make the enabling functions accountable to employees and resolve any issues that they may have within a stipulated time.
- Directions, an annual interactive event, where the senior management along with the CEO meet employees to discuss company strategy, new processes and policies and what they think is the right agenda for HCL to adopt in the coming year.
- U&I, an online discussion forum where every HCLite gets an opportunity to raise issues, share thoughts and ideas, as well as debate directly with the CEO.
- Spot 360⁰ Feedback was launched to make the management accountable to employees and to increase organizational accountability. A system where anyone could rate managers on various aspects.
- Employee Passion Indicative Count (EPIC) assits employees in identifying their passion drivers – factors that drive an employee to excel at work.
Results?In the past three years,
- HCL grew at a CAGR of 24 per cent
- Market cap increased by 186 per cent
- Number of $10 Mn, $20 Mn & $50 Mn customers doubled, and the number of $100 Mn customers tripled
- Revenue per Employee is amongst the highest in the Indian IT segment today.
The book explores the steps of HCLT’s transformation as the company recognized the need for change, created a culture of trust through transparency, turned the organizational pyramid on its head, and shifted the responsibility of change from the office of the CEO to the employees using small catalysts, or “blue ocean droplets,” that produced big results.
The journey had four steps:
- Confront the Truth
- Build Trust
- Support the Value Zone
- Change at the role of the CEO
I think it’s interesting to note how this journey has facilitated their next step:
Employees Driven, Management Embraced [EFCS 2.0]
Employees are increasingly taking the lead in driving innovation. We call this phase EFCS 2.0 where we’re witnessing a change in ownership – Employees are taking charge and creating innovative programs in and around HCL, which are producing big impact. Here are some of the notable programs.
- Meme: A platform created by employees to go from official to social at work; it now boards over 59,000 members.
- MAD JAM: “Make a Difference” a bottom-up initiative designed by front line employees, for front line employees, that recognizes and celebrates the most innovative ideas at HCL.
- MAD LTD: “Make a Difference, Lead the Difference”, a platform focused on nurturing young leaders to showcase and implement ideas for social impact. For more details, please visit www.madltd.com
- Power of One: A social responsibility initiative where HCLites spend a day with the community and donate a Rupee a day, which adds up to an avalanche of positive social activism.
- arKMedes: A platform focused on making knowledge the currency across the organization by bringing together communities driven by passionate employees.
I think work is changing: as a ritual, as an enabler of identity, as a method of survival, as a framework for community- the horizon of change is vast. In Australia 40% of our workforce are employed on various insecure arrangements, casual, contract or through labour hire companies and in this climate we might do well to think about were value is generated, how it is created and where it can be amplified. Who makes your world? Have you told them they’re anything special lately?
Over on Seth’s blog today was this morsel
A good employee says, “I know that this is a serious problem, it’s hurting our customers and we can do better, but I can’t do a thing about it because it’s run by a different department.”
A version of this might conclude with, “And I don’t even know the name of the person who’s responsible.”
This is a sure sign of systemic failure as well as a CEO who is not doing the job she should be. When smart people who care get frustrated, something is wrong.
There’s an intesection here and a paper that Deloitte relased yesterday:
Based on a global study of investment bankers, private equity companies, and financial analysts, the paper, The Leadership Premium: How companies win the confidence of investors, puts a hard metric on the “intangible asset” of leadership, revealing that, in some sectors, good leaders can account for more than one-fifth of equity value.
The gap between the value of an effectively-led and ineffectively-led company could, says the paper, be as much as 35.5 percent.
It’s a pretty good read, and one that full of steal able insights about the core components of value building leadership and the importance of leaders taking their teams along for the ride:
“All employees should have the same goal and process in mind… the same direction”
Investment analyst, US
Here are my notes:
Many major corporations have found that orthodox management practices and organizational principles are not well suited to the modern era. Our view is that current conditions don’t demand a revolution so much as a renewed focus on the fundamentals of leadership
Three value delivering components
- Strategic Clarity
- Successful execution
- A culture of innovation
Organizations need to decide on where and on what basis they will compete. e.g
- Virgin Media’s decision to focus on it’s network as its core strategic asset was the beginning of an impressive corporate turnaround
- Southwest Airlines’ early use of the internet and online booking and check-ins has helped consolidate its positions as a low cost, low fares carrier.
- Apple’s relentless focus on ‘insanely great’ products allowed it to transform consumer electronics
- FedEx Ground’s emphasis on service and its early use of tracking systems (as RPS in the 1980s) enabled it to challenge UPS
Strategic clarity involves delivering a vision of what the organization needs to achieve
- and a framework that leaves enough room for people to create the future
- with consistency and commitment
Common to organisations is the belief that the only long term differentiator they have is their people. The priority for an organisation has to be getting the best out of its people by ensuring that they are willing and able to fulfil its aims
- Believe: compelling reasons, communication and bulid commitment
- Belong: leaders need to articulate a long term purpose beyond just making money
- Behave: adaptive, value driven, team building, respectful,
- Able: capabilities, resources infrastructure
A Culture of Innovation
Great ideas are generated and developed through interaction.
- Commitment to enterprise; an environment for ideas
- Collaboration culture
- The freedom to experiment (and fail)
- It’s not about hiring new radical thinkers
- It’s about realizing the potential of the thinkers you’ve got
I liked this check list:
Effective leadership characteristics
- Driving competitiveness and innovation
- Providing direction and purpose
- Making effective decisions
- Inspiring others to act
- Developing people
- Building high performing teams
- Personal qualities
- Integrity, probity and humility
- Moral courage
Filed under: Experience
I read Change or Die over at Fast Company…
The conventional wisdom says that crisis is a powerful motivator for change. But severe heart disease is among the most serious of personal crises, and it doesn’t motivate — at least not nearly enough. Nor does giving people accurate analyses and factual information about their situations. What works? Why, in general, is change so incredibly difficult for people? What is it about how our brains are wired that resists change so tenaciously? Why do we fight even what we know to be in our own vital interests.
and I loved this bridge:
Changing the behaviour of people isn’t just the biggest challenge in health care. It’s the most important challenge for businesses trying to compete in a turbulent world, says John Kotter, a Harvard Business School professor who has studied dozens of organizations in the midst of upheaval: “The central issue is never strategy, structure, culture, or systems. The core of the matter is always about changing the behaviour of people.”
I can’t help think that we focus so much on message, on story, on information that sometimes we forget that we’re not just trying to get people to take notice- we’re trying to get them to change. And it’s hard. And they don’t like it…
It reminds me a little of this presentation…
Filed under: Digital Strategy
I’ve been working on this campaign for a client…while I don’t t usually do this, I’d love you all to help.
Piece by Piece is way to show our support for breast cancer sufferers by aiding research (through the National Breast Cancer foundation) to help solve the puzzle. The online mosaic is made up of the faces or chosen images of those committed and caring people who want to donate a dollar, or more to breast cancer research.
So here’s the idea….
- I would like to give 10 of you 50 pieces for Christmas.
- I’d love you to share your pieces with family and friends in a pay it forward style and we will their match donations (or yours!) dollar for dollar.
- We’ve got $2000 to give away. And we need to give it away by the end of the year.
- All your readers/followers/friends and family need to do is to include #payitforward with their message in the comments box when they donate.
Let me know if you’d like to be part of this and I’ll set you up.
Explore ideas, places, and opinions. The inside of the echo chamber is where are all the boring people hang out.
2. Share what you discover.
And be generous when you do. Not everybody went exploring with you. Let them live vicariously through your adventures.
3. Do something. Anything.
Dance. Talk. Build. Network. Play. Help. Create. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re doing it. Sitting around and complaining is not an acceptable form of ‘something,’ in case you were wondering.
4. Embrace your innate weirdness.
No one is normal. Everyone has quirks and insights unique to themselves. Don’t hide these things—they are what make you interesting.
5. Have a cause.
If you don’t give a damn about anything, no one will give a damn about you.
6. Minimize the swagger.
Egos get in the way of ideas. If your arrogance is more obvious than your expertise, you are someone other people avoid.
7. Give it a shot.
Try it out. Play around with a new idea. Do something strange. If you never leave your comfort zone, you won’t grow.
8. Hop off the bandwagon.
If everyone else is doing it, you’re already late to the party. Do your own thing, and others will hop onto the spiffy wagon you built yourself. Besides, it’s more fun to drive than it is to get pulled around.
9. Grow a pair.
Bravery is needed to have contrary opinions and to take unexpected paths. If you’re not courageous, you’re going to be hanging around the water cooler, talking about the guy who actually is.
10. Ignore the scolds.
Boring is safe, and you will be told to behave yourself. The scolds could have, would have, should have. But they didn’t. And they resent you for your adventures.
So perfect. Love Jessica Hagy. From here
I like to remind myself that one of the roles of the Creative Strategist is to promote collaboration and innovation, to lead the improv disciplines of “what if’ and “yes and” (and make sure the creativity killing Nupski monster doesn’t get fed too much)
Sydney’s pretty full of ‘what if’s” right now. This year, Art & About Sydney put out a call, asking people across Australia to send their responses, in ten words or less, to that one simple question – what if? – two words that put the power of imagining back on the agenda, and inspire us all to think beyond the here and now.…(see the entire list here).
When it comes to creative and development, improv is critical….
Here’s another way of looking at it: Improvisation is all about viewing your failures (“I don’t like it” or “it doesn’t work they way it should”) as positives that lead you in newer and better directions. The messy, circular paths we have to take in order to reach our goals oftentimes show us things we normally wouldn’t have seen before. And that makes us a lot better at doing our jobs.Build improvisation into your thinking. Saying “Yes” makes everyone into the good guy and gives you a better chance of delivering what you hoped to. It’s also more fun