In an engrossing session at the HRDN Conference today, Mr Virendra Agarwal, (CEO of RAMCO) spoke about the journey his company has undertaken from a small textile unit to a US$ 1 billion strong IT & Cloud services provider. The transformation took place over the span of eight decades and is a compelling story of grit and courage that all must read about.
The company owes it’s humble origins to the setting up of the first spinning mill in 1938 at a small town in South India called Rajapalayam. The Ramco Group Companies today collectively employ more than 14,000 employees across the world and are publicly listed. It is also ranked as the fifth largest cement producer in India.
How To Create An Agile Organization
Based on his experiences in scaling up, Mr Agarwal spoke about how disruption to any business can come from the most unexpected channels. Stating his case he cited how AirBnB had upstaged established hotel chains with it’s low cost budget traveler accommodations. Amazon Cloud Services was also able to checkmate IBM, HP, Dell and Oracle to emerge as the leader in cloud services. So no company can rest assured today, that it’s market will not be disrupted overnight with the launch of a new startup.
What is even more scary is how new companies are able to scale up to US1 billion valuations. The process which used to take at-least 20 years for a typical Fortune 500 company now takes just 2 years for tech startups.
The conservative business organization model is no longer sufficient to cater to the needs of emerging markets and often too formal, pedantic and secure. There is a need for a companies to evolve to a more responsive model which is more open. Open organizations are self-powered and agile.
Diversity is another complexity which has emerged as the norm in corporate cultures. Diversity helps companies perform better on all parameters, this has been validated by various studies across the globe. Many organizations are preoccupied with measurement and accountability, people are known to spend 50-70% of their time in idle and low priority tasks. It is thus much easier for people to collaborate when companies voluntarily give up some of the rigid control they exert over their employees.
As companies grow, it is important to prioritize feedback . Feedback matters and needs to be real-time and continous, closed loop and with quick effects. Feedback must not be mistaken for performance evaluation. The Ramco CEO infact views a survey every morning that gives him feedback from key employees across the globe on how satisfied hsi employees are with their day. When your employees make ” Thank God It’s Monday”! their mantra, you can rest assured that you have made the transformation into an agile company.