Incorporated in November 2007, the Client Company was a joint venture between three fierce competitors in the Indian Telecom Industry to provide passive infrastructure services to telecom and broadband service providers.
While the Joint Venture made business sense, it was a formidable challenge to reconcile the differing objectives of the shareholders and transform a startup (with employees drawn from competitor companies) into a disciplined, process oriented, customer centric and credible organization. As the company was created almost overnight, processes were still being developed. The company had employees who had come from the three parent companies and had brought their own “culture” to the new organization. An exercise was needed to develop a shared vision and created the glue of “shared values” that would define the unique culture and independent identity of the company.
It was decided to co create and deploy the Core Ideology – Vision, Values and Big-Ticket Goals for the organization, with the involvement of all employees.
A cross section of employees and other stakeholders of the company were interviewed using the Appreciative Inquiry framework. A leadership retreat for creation of shared vision (Purpose) and values was organized. A series of Large-Scale Interactive Process (LSIP) events covering all 2400 employees were held at different locations to co-create the draft vision and the core values of the company. Finally, a confluence Workshop was conducted in which representatives of the earlier Leadership Retreat and LSIPs attended, and the new Vision, values and BHAGs were articulated and adopted. The entire company had now developed a positive spirit of working together to build the company of their dreams.
The Project team also trained “Value Champions” who trained everyone on how the values had to be lived daily. The team then helped the company leaders to do several things to ensure that the transformation process would be institutionalized. These were
Even though there was skepticism – the process that touched all 2400 employees was a huge success. People stopped talking about their old heritage – and new rituals and symbols were accepted.
The leadership team ensured relentless focus on the BHAGs to provide strategic direction to the company. It also ensured that adherence to values and the code of conduct created a transparent, non-discriminatory environment wherein all the customers were treated equally and there was a premium on customer service and operational excellence. By 2015 – most of the BHAGs which had a 5-year horizon had been achieved. More importantly, there was tremendous belief about the company’s professionalism amongst all stakeholders – employees, customers, shareholders and business partners. The client company was the number 1 telecom infra company and was delivering an EBITDA of (~ $1bn). All telecom service providers were its customers.