Article (June-2018)


Need to align on a common language for talking and walking excellence

Gajendra S Chandel

Designation : -   President & Chief Human Resources Officer

Organization : -  Tata Motors Limited, 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?
GS Cultural issues are at the heart of successful or failure of business transformations. The leaders need to take a "culture-first" approach to business transformation, to harvest the benefits of digitalization & digitization of businesses. The top leadership, who must lead the transition, drives change thru people and skills where the technology is even more necessary than ever, but alone not enough.
What are the key characteristics of the new-age culture of excellence at work place?
GS A strong corporate culture exists where people are clear about vision, mission and strategic game plan of the organization. Strong corporate culture means people learn to work together and clear code of conduct is the foundation for spirit of commitment and trust. Employees understand and deliver on the high standards of results required for delivering value to various stakeholders, while well - being of employees is uppermost in management's mind. The bedrock of sustaining such a culture is the intense, open and transparent communication and mutual trust in the ecosystem.
How managers should manage the change and instill culture of excellence in approach and attitude of new-age workforce?
GS Creating a culture of Excellence and sustaining that culture over a long period of time, starts from the top. Getting the company's top management to align on a common language for talking and walking excellence, is critical but only first step. Top management team not only agrees on the words that are used to describe every aspect of excellence, but seen to be totally aligned on the approach for changing the culture. Once top management are aligned on the words and approach, they must create and "sell" the case for change within the organization i.e communicating clearly to the workforce why adopting a culture of excellence is essential for success of the company which they live everyday and they support, guide and coach people in internalizing it.
What are the challenges likely to be encountered in developing and sustaining the culture of excellence?
GS The ultimate test of any corporate success is the quality of leaders it has helped to nurture and develop overtime. Top leaders in a successful organization demonstrate high degree of initiative, foresight; entrepreneurial drive and undaunted will to not only survive but thrive in the long - run driving their companies to compete hard even in the most challenging business environment. The leaders not only formulate sound strategic plans, but drive implementation and execution to the fullest to win. The challenges that the organisations face in building and sustaining culture of excellence includes providing clear strategic direction, effectively managing the company's resources, building intellectual capital, developing entrepreneurial mindset at all managerial level, making managers as change agents and quelling negative organizational politics.
In the current scenario how do you suggest develop a culture of excellence?
GS The culture of excellence starts at the top. The leaders co-create and communicate a clear sense of purpose, vision and mission of the organization ensuring that everyone on the team understands and talks the same language. The people not only understand their roles and responsibilities clearly but also expectations and how they contribute towards achieving organizational goals. The leaders in such organisations not only build resilience to change and challenges but also high degree of collaboration to win in the marketplace. They not only build a mindset of innovation but also remove the fear of failure that enables high degree of risk-taking and entrepreneurial ability.
What is the role of HR in setting organisational expectations for excellence?
GS The HR function, being the custodian of organizational culture, works closely as part of the management team building process, systems and competence of its managers and employees at large that drives engagement and performance orientation in the company. HR, thru various interventions including induction & education drives setting organization's expectations of excellence standards clearly to every employee in the company that's measured and worked upon continuously.