Jun 4, 2007

Déjà vu-Reflections on a Visionary co.



Post contributed by frequent conributor R Karthik

The first time i learnt of this word was years ago and i then thought there possibly can't be any such feeling which one gets and intuitively leads him to think he has been through a similar experience or situation earlier. And years later in June '06 when i read Jim Collins' 'Built to Last' there was Déjà vu. It occured to me and i believed that there could be Déjà vu indeed!


'Built to Last' is about successful habits of visionary co.s (so easy to spell that out huh!-the authors & their team took 5 years to complete the ground research and lay the foundations for the work to be written). Not intending to review that book here anyway!
Scores of co.s have been researched and classified into 2 distinct sets.
Visionary co.s according to authors are those which could withstand and grow amidst the ever-transient dynamics of marketplace, industry, CEO transitions, stock market, economic cycles, technology obsolence and so on. Comparision co.s on the other hand are those businesses that did not stand the test of time, got budged from their position, fell down and got eroded by any one of the above factors.

Having defined visionary co.s that way, the authors have established with empirical evidence what it takes to build such businesses and organizations.Some of the key attributes they argue, of visionary organizations are as below

-Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (BHAG): way of goal-setting
-Cult-like culture: only fit flourishes and a misfit perishes almost immediately
-Home-grown management: a committed approach to nurturing and grooming leaders from within as opposed to head-hunting talent from outside
-Guided & driven by a set of core values always


While i was engrossed in reading this work, with every chapter this feeling grew within me that i have experienced and observed such culture and practices...almost every aspect of visionary co.s that the authors were explaining. All my experiences were directly relating to the organization i was then part of. As a matter of fact...the book i was reading was borrowed out of the office library and i immersed myself into the book when on one of those recruitment tours for them. My understanding of that organization was indisputable and so any concept dealt in the book-i could accurately relate to similar concepts that which existed within that organization. Also as a HR professional i knew the DNA of the organization; i knew the thought and the underlying philosophy for all its moves.

As i completed the book i felt an increasing urge in me to go and discuss this with the VP-HR.
But I resigned saying to myself "i will definitely tell them sometime but not immediately", lest it is miscontrued to be some form of flattery or an exaggeration even.
Months ago, i was checking their website (i do it from time to time as i want to stay abreast of all changes that have happened with them ever since i left-new product launches, press releases and so on) and i found a new link was up on their site. It read BHAG #1....
I chuckled to myself and said "someone from the top team has read the book; the co. has found a reflection of itself in what is being talked about in the book...and now they are internalizing the learnings from 'Built to Last'.
It was heartening to learn that they began thinking the same way i thought much before then and my feeling was again of Déjà vu :)

I wrote to the VP-HR immediately saying these thoughts were on my mind too and expressed happiness about the coincidental matching of thoughts.( It would be presumptous to have called it like-mindedness even though it actually is:))
Such feelings are too hard to resist! Well...anyone buys whaI i have said above?


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