Article (June-2018)


Establish the values that resonate with everybody

Rajesh Padmanabhan

Designation : -   Director and Group CHRO,

Organization : -  Welspun Group, Mumbai


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How do you define culture of excellence in today's business world where it seems to be captured and governed by digital technology?
RP Leaders always aim for excellence as they want to utilize full potential, hunt for growth, build an effective organization, and produce long lasting change. The fact of the matter is that :
'Many interventions in the organization aimed at leadership, culture, training & development lead to only short - term gains which fade away as teams go back to their old habits.'
In today's time the main challenge for any leader is to build a lasting culture of excellence throughout the entire organization. The key to moving an organization from the conventional way of working to having an expectation of excellence is the corporate culture. While building a culture of excellence, one concentrated on building the organizational capacity and an environment that empowers and engages employees.
What are the key characteristics of the new-age culture of excellence at work place?
RP 1) Meaningful purpose - Employees attach a real purpose and meaning to their job in a culture of excellence. They feel safe because there is a sense of trust, and also an understanding of being a part of something bigger than themselves. It is integral to have a larger purpose and a sense of belonging to the organization. In addition, when employees feel that their contribution matters than they would want to give their best and aim for excellence.
2) Understanding the vision - Every employee must be aware of the company's vision, and also know their own roles, responsibilities and the specific actions they need to take in order to help achieve this vision.
3) Spotlight on high productivity - High performance needs to be given due importance, because it is often seen that companies focus on solving random problems instead of attending to long - term vision. The danger is that by doing this you shift focus from what is really important to ad-hoc stuff. An organization that is able to build a culture of excellence sets an expectation of high performance organization - wide. Every employee is expected and encouraged to grow in their position and expertise. High performers are nurtured, rewarded, mentored and recognized, and average performers are coached to move into the high - performance category.
4) Collaboration - A key feature of a Culture of Excellence is highly collaborative teams - both internal and external. Because every employee and all teams are working together toward a common organizational vision, they feel they are on the same side. And because this collaboration is encouraged and rewarded from the top down, there is no more reason to protect individual roles, projects or expertise.
5) Innovative mindset - It's about encouraging on creating something new, something that has never been made before, breaking records and achieving extraordinary results. Employees and teams are motivated to think unconventional, support, and co-create to achieve common goals.
How managers should manage the change and instill culture of excellence in approach and attitude of new-age workforce?
RP The companies that embrace change and challenges are the ones that can achieve excellence. Change and daily progress are highly critical to thrive in today's digital world. In a culture of excellence, employees develop flexibility and resilience to deal with challenges, change, and uncertainty.
It should aptly be communicated by the Managers to all their employees why adopting a culture of excellence is essential for the success of the company. Of course, this requires that they truly believe it themselves, and that they personally demonstrate the new behaviors they expect to see. Furthermore, they should ask employees to point out when their behaviors aren't consistent with expected decorum. It is found that case studies can be a very effective tool for creating the case for change. Specifically, case studies that discuss the role leadership and culture played in major incidents can be very powerful illustrations of the need for Operational Discipline. Incorporating activities that challenge employees to reflect on their own behaviors, relative to the behaviors of leaders in the case study, can help them recognize the positive aspects attached to the culture shift/change.
What are the challenges likely to be encountered in developing and sustaining the culture of excellence?
RP Talks of change are generally dipped in 'Hypocrisy'. Everyone talks about change, but only few people make a genuine effort in participating towards regime of change. This is fundamentally the biggest challenge to change. Because change is chaotic, frustrating, and taxing. This is why most organizations are cautious towards advocating/implementing change initiatives and its related challenges. Whether it's at work or in our day-to-day lives, the desire to avoid problems and instability overrides nearly everything else. That is why effectively managing organizational change is the biggest challenge for most organizations. While companies want the best for their teams, and hence encourage them to focus on organizational goals, employees are more motivated to avoid change, fear and uncertainty. In order to keep their teams focused, many companies resort to a problem - solving style of response. Unfortunately, this type of response ricochets and drifts companies even further away from their desired results. In fact, organizations should put more energy towards achieving the vision of the organization instead of being reactive in approach. The only way to keep teams focused on your organizational goals during times of change is to create a culture where every individual genuinely feels that focusing on the highest aspirations and meaningful goals of the company is more important than the uncomfortable feelings created by change.