A series of hacks to fundamentally reorient your company to be more principled, patient and socially responsible
This submission consists of a series of hacks targeting all the three issues - values and ethics, long term vision and social responsibility. The primary intention is to urge companies to challenge the well entrenched mindset on how an Organization and employees must conduct themselves. This paper attempts to delve into the thought process of the top management and employees and provides innovative suggestions that both rewire current operations as well as introduce some new simple yet very powerful processes that makes an organization more principled, patient and socially responsible.
This submission focuses on all three issues - Values and Ethics, Long Term Vision and Social Responsibility. It aims at solving the following challenges in each issue:
Values and Ethics - How are different employees different in an Organization? How can we segment them in terms of Personal and Organizational Values? What are the implications of each segment to the Organization? How can the company take differentiated approaches in order that the different segments of employees are reoriented to make the company an embodiment of values? What new innovative processes and support systems are needed to ensure that the strong values and ethics are sustained? What are the metrics measuring different parameters that a C-suite executive must review regularly and what is the implication of each?
Long Term Vision and Strategy - What motivates us and contributes to our excessive focus on the short term and neglecting the long term vision and strategy? How to embed a mindset of long term thinking in most of the employees of the Organization? What is the difference in thought process and approaches to short term and long term thinking - how to reorient the company systems to long term based on these differences? Why and how should we include customers in the creation of long term strategy? What are the various support systems necessary to create a competent long term strategy? How do we verify if the long term strategy is really competent? How to change our performance management systems to reward contributions in long term strategy and vision? What metrics are to defined to measure the 'long-term mindset' of the company?
Social Responsibility - What is the role of the top management in embedding social responsibility in the company and how can it set an example to other employees of lower hierarchies? What are the various means by which a company can contribute to the society and empower communities? How to encourage employees to volunteer for social activities? How can the Organization ensure that an employee's unique skills set is being used to the maximum for development of society and how can it encourage an employee to do so? What incentives and rewards do employees actually look for when they contribute to the society?
1. Ethics and Values
1.1. The 4 Quadrants of Employees and Value systems
1.1.1 Organization's reactions to employees in Quadrant 1
1.1.2 Organization's reactions to employees in Quadrant 2
1.1.3 Organization's reactions to employees in Quadrant 3
1.2 The 'Value Progress Sheet' - A self-appraisal process on the 'value progress' of an employee
1.3 Metrics to review 'Ethics and Values' Scenario in the company
2. Long Term Strategy
2.1 Understanding the motivation to focus on the short-term
2.2 'Educate and Encourage' employees about the need for Long Term Vision
2.3 Different thought processes and hence different teams for short term and long term vision
2.4 Redefining Business Research - The need for divergent line of thinking for generating best insights on long term vision
2.5 Education and inclusion of customers in creating long term vision - steering thinking and efforts in the right direction
2.6 Benchmarking Long Term Vision
2.7 Have a Collaboration Plan in Long Term Strategy
2.8 The 'Mentor Marketplace' - A vital cog in creating winning ideas for the future
2.9 Redesign the Appraisal Process - Making Long-term thinking a responsibility
2.10 Metrics to review 'Long term mindset'
3. Social Responsibility
3.1 Defining and Displaying Executive's Social mindset and goals - The first step towards a 'net positive' social contribution
3.2 Empowering Communities through core competencies of the Company - The TCS Example
3.3 Collaboration to develop low-cost affordable solutions to poor communities - Tata Swach
3.4 Redesigning Business Models - PruHealth
3.5 Increasing Employee Participation in Volunteering Efforts - The Power of informal decentralized employee peer networks
3.6 'The CSR Recommender' - Enabling maximum use of the skills set of Employees for social efforts
3.7 Incentives and Rewards for Social Contributions - Nothing better than Peer Recognition and the Opportunity to contribute more
1. Ethics and Values
1.1 The 4 Quadrants of Employees and Value systems
The Ethics System in an Organization must be driven by personal values in combination with the defined Organization values. When you consider an employee, his value system will lie in one of the four scenarios:
Quadrant 1 (Most Desirable Quadrant): Strong Personal Values and Strong adherence to Organizational Values : The employee has imbibed over a period of time, values, qualities and a belief system that has endowed him with strong convictions and he takes decisions and reacts in a manner that is bound by his value system. The employee also understands that the organization he works in has values that are in coherence with his own value system and is convinced that adherence to these values are essential for the growth and sustainability of the Organization.
Quadrant 2: Strong Personal Values but Weak adherence to Organizational Values: The employee has a value system similar to Quadrant 1but he either believes there is a discord between his personal values and the organizational values (or) is not convinced that the defined set of Organizational values are the ones that will build a great future for the company.
Quadrant 3: Weak Personal Values but Strong adherence to Organizational Values: The employee has weak personal values but he is convinced that when it comes to his profession, he must adapt and almost sincerely adhere to many of the Organizational values. This type of employee sees an incentive in following Organizational values.
Quadrant 4: Weak Personal Values and Weak adherence to Organizational Values: This employee is difficult to be motivated and productivity spirals down.
When you compare the first three quadrants, it is difficult to confirm if the employee in quadrant 1 has more productivity than an employee in quadrant 2 or 3. But, it can definitely be said that a particular employee in Quadrant 1 will perform better, be reliable and is a positive influence to the company in the long run than if he is in quadrant 2 or quadrant 3.
I suggest the following reactions that Organizations can adopt for the different Quadrants:
1.1.1. Organization's reactions to employees in Quadrant 1
1. The Organization must strive to identify such employees and focus on retaining them and iron out their few weaknesses. Such employees can be identified by their appraisers or leads or points of contacts of different teams. For identifying the right people, leads and managers and appraisers can also be incentivized if the highly ethical talent chosen by them, transform into stewards of values in the company.
2. The feedback and appraisal efforts must explicitly state that they are in Quadrant 1 and the company appreciates them.
3. Spot awards can be given to these employees for their personal values and organizational values, for peer recognition. Spot awards can be chosen by peers rather than managers.
4. The organization must seek his views on how to improve the value and ethics scenario.
5. These employees can be used as 'Local Ethics Counselors' and in case of dilemnas and doubts, other employees can look up to them.
6. Scenarios and incidents where such employees have demonstrated strong values can be packaged as stories and given due publicity in knowledge management platforms of the company as well as shared by email.
1.1.2. Organization's reactions to employees in Quadrant 2
The productivity of such employees may be high but the threat to productivity is varied and is high for higher hierarchies and in front-end roles. It is also easiest to shift from this quadrant to quadrant 1 (most desirable quadrant).
The organization must have the following approaches to such employees:
A. It must take an effort to convince the employees that adherence to the organization values are essential for sustainable growth and are expected from him:
1. Stories, examples, experiences and insights where adherence to organization values made the difference can be furnished and disseminated. These must be given prime visibility on the Employee Portals
2. Interactive and innovative approaches like webinar, games must be deployed to ensure that the employee understands the organizational values and the expectations from him. For example, the Tata Code of Conduct is administered to employees in the form of an interactive webinar with story lines and characters which is a much better delivery system of values than a PDF document.
B. It must facilitate interaction with the employee to consider the reasons why an employee in Quadrant 2 does not adhere to critical Organizational goals:
It may happen that an employee is of the opinion that the Organizational values are just values on paper in the Organization. He may have discontent that the peers with disrespect for the organizational values are the ones promoted and recognized. This scenario may especially occur at large, global companies which have existed for a long period of time.
In most cases, such an employee may leave the company in search of a place with what he thinks is a work environment with a better ethics system. Such a scenario is a threat to the legacy of a company and may have visible impacts even in the near future. The solution lies in facilitating sharing of employee dilemnas with 'Local Ethics Counsellors'.
In TCS, we have Local Ethics Counsellors, who are employees noted for strong personal values or external professionals. Employees can basically contact them with any personal dilemna or doubts and steps are taken. But what is needed is an empowerment of these ethics counsellors.
The Local ethics counsellors have the most personalized interaction with employees and hence they will be in a position to collate various crucial insights on the ethical dilemnas that are faced by employees. The organization must set them goals on the same. Similarly these findings must be presented to and reviewed by some senior management in a department. These finding will go a long way in holding together the moral fabric of the company in the long term.
Ethics Counsellors in different regions should be encouraged to collaborate via social media and other collaboration platforms to share real time experiences and insights.
The company must also take efforts to dedicate groups on collaboration platforms to discuss about issues related to ethics and values.
1.1.3. Organization's reactions to employees in Quadrant 3
These employees have an incentive to strongly adhere to organizational values because they would have realized that is how they are going to achieve personal growth in the company. This quadrant usually puts 'self before organization' and may impact the company negatively as they progress up the hierarchy. TheUBSRogue trading scandal may be an example to corroborate this point. Employees in this quadrant must be shifted to quadrant 1 as soon as possible but as we can clearly see, this shift is difficult considering that personal values have taken a long time to form and mould.
The Best solution lies in ensuring that only candidates with strong personal values are recruited. This means a re-engineering of the recruitment selection processes and giving as much importance to values as is given to intelligence and analytical ability. Why are questions like 'Please recount an incident where you demonstrated selflessness' are almost never asked in interviews??? Non-competing companies can collaborate with researchers and academicians (experts on values) and with companies which provide recruitment software (like Taleo) to innovate and create tests and selection processes that would help in determining the health levels of a candidate's personal values.
It must be noted that having the highest percentage of 'employees with strong values' is in itself a huge source of competitive advantage for a company.
It will be inevitable that some employees will still be in Quadrant 3. Feedback for these employees can be strong and the dissatisfaction of the company be made clear and they can also be offered support like memberships to conventions, prayer groups etc. This will be a step forward in ensuring that highly productive employees are not lost while preparing them to be better role models for the society.
1.2. The 'Value Progress Sheet' - A self-appraisal process on the 'value progress' of an employee
I propose that Organizations design a 'Value Progress Sheet' - an application or a tool to be available on the employee portals. I envision the following characteristics of a 'Value Progress Sheet':
1. A list of personal and organizational values that a company expects an employee to have will be listed in the sheet
2. An employee can rate himself against these values using his own discretion
3. Guidelines on how the rating can be assigned can be provided. It must also frame examples and scenarios for each rating level for each value that an employee can use a reference to rate himself against the values.
4. The company can explicitly state that this sheet will not be used by anyone else other than the employee and must specify the many benefits of using this application.
5. The 'Value Progress Sheet' must look like a 'Wrap Platform' where you can see your complete investment portfolio as a single snapshot. The 'Value Progress Sheet' will display the ratings for values of an employee as a single snapshot and some formulated comments can be generated.
6. Filling in the sheet must be made compulsory and must be at least once a month.
The benefits of such a concept of self appraisal on values are:
1. It will be a message to employees that a company expects them to nurture values as well and not only functional skills and competencies.
2. An employee may not take an effort to self-introspect on many values. This 'sheet' will be a reminder for the employee of all the critical values and he may begin to pay attention to all these values.
3. Presenting the self-ratings of all the values in a visual form is a better approach to facilitate self-introspection. He can begin to work on values that are weak and can seek help from the company to support him.
4. Prompting the employee to rate his values regularly will ensure that he is less complacent about his values and he gets to the most desired quadrant (quadrant 1) faster than ever.
This simple tool may have a huge gross impact on how the organization comes to view values.
1.3. Metrics to review 'Ethics and Values' Scenario in the company
The C-suite and the head of business units must periodically review the different aspects and parameters related to ethics and values that will reveal critical facts.
Employee's Perception of reality of Organization Values
This metric will reveal the perception of an employee on the various organizational values and if he thinks they are deeply embedded in the immediate work environment around him
Methodology and Benefits: Surveys can be designed and various organizational values can be listed and the employee can rate them on a scale of 1-5
1 - I find it completely absent
2 - Poor
3 - Many people practice it
4 - The benefits are visible
5 - Deeply embedded in the work environment
Filters can be applied during the review process and the employee groups can be found which had given a low average rating. Conflicts can be resolved and immediate steps can be taken to restore confidence in the Organizational Values.
Employee's perception of completeness of Organizational Values
This metric will aim to determine if the employee is satisfied with the number of organizational values and if he thinks additional values must be defined for better business results. Employees at different levels interface with different challenges and observe their teams that approach problems with specific values. Hence, they will be well positioned to comment on the completeness of the values. This metric aims at 'crowdsourcing’ the critical and missing organizational values.
Methodology and Benefits: Surveys can be carried out yearly or half-yearly with a rating system of 1-3
1 - Grossly inadequate
2 - Inadequate
3 - Adequate
The employee can further share his views on what is missing in the work culture and what must be improved. This metric is a sincere attempt by the Organization to be open to thoughts and suggestions and improve the values in work environment. Acting on this metric by filtering to find the regions, hierarchies, roles and other segments with discontent will bring more energy to the business.
Awareness level of employees on the Organizational Values
This metric will seek to find out if the employees are aware of all the organizational values and the levels of commitment an organization expects from employees on these values
Methodology and Benefits: Difficult timed online quizzes and modules with multiple choice questions can be uploaded on the employee portal and an employee must be asked to compulsorily complete these quizzes. The distribution of number of employees over different scores must be modeled and plotted. A low number of employees in the higher score range bracket is a cause for worry with respect to the awareness levels of values. New initiatives and communications on values can be designed for increasing awareness levels.
Employee's perception of Organization Efforts on 'Value Education' and 'Value Support'
This metric will aim to seek if the employee is finding the education and support on ethics and values useful enough in resolving his problems and clarifying his doubts. As seen earlier the Organization has an opportunity to increase awareness through stories, interactive webinars, 'gamification' etc. and it can support employees with dilemnas related to ethics and values through a support system of ethics counsellors and collaboration tools.
Methodology and Benefits: Surveys can be disseminated that contain the various efforts and initiatives of theOrganization. An employee can rate each initiative on its relevance and usefulness. This type of metric has important implications. It can reveal the success of the efforts, the right kind of approach to each employee segment (like role, hierarchy, region, gender etc.) and also usability of technology applications.
2. Long Term Strategy
While everyone will accept per se that long term strategy is essential, what must be deliberated are the following important questions:
1. Why are we motivated to focus excessively on the short term while paying little attention to the long term?
2. How much attention and focus must be given to the long term strategy and planning?
3. How can we have a balance between short term and long term strategy?
4. How must internal systems and workforce be reorganized and redesigned such that the long term strategy is given sufficient focus and a competent strategy is created?
5. How do we verify if the long term strategy is competent?
2.1. Understanding the motivation to focus on the short-term
The possible causes of excessive focus on short term strategy and neglecting long term are:
I suggest the following measures to reorient the company in a way that it gives sufficient focus to the long term vision, creates a competent long term strategy, has a high clarity of the long term challenges and prepares itself for the long term.
2.2. 'Educate and Encourage' employees about Long Term Vision
It will be fruitful and convenient for the company if the employees right from the beginning have a mindset that is not only oriented to think in the short term and about crisis-of-the-day issues but they must also be able to analyze and measure their current responsibilities, goals, impact and skills in a larger time frame.
I propose the following framework and methodology to 'educate and encourage' employees of different hierarchies on long term strategy and vision:
1. Conduct activities and initiatives in different departments and units that will create awareness on the need of a long term vision
2. Stories, case studies and examples of companies and competitors who have thrived because of robust long-term vision must be showcased. These case studies must give an insight into the efforts taken by employees in order to be successful in the long term.
3. The top leadership can send announcements and messages about their expectations from employees. For example, TCS recently celebrated the 'TCS World IP day' on April 26 for the first time to urge employees to collaborate and create significant IP for the future.
4. The top leadership can encourage employees to contribute long-term innovative ideas and proposals and promise a fair review. Again, they must have robust contributing platforms and an effective review process methodology to do so.
5. The top management must urge the employees to form internal networks and use the available 'collaboration tools' to work together to create winning proposals of the future.
I just mentioned about the need for a robust contributing platform and an effective review methodology process. The contributions of employees must be reviewed periodically. My vision of an effective idea review process is as follows:
The advantages of the efforts to educate and encourage employees to think about long term strategy are many:
1. It will be convenient to the company when they change in the long-term
2. Employees will be able to analyze and measure their current responsibilities, goals, impact and skills in a larger time frame. They will adapt better and focus on developing skills of the future.
3. Highly talented employees will get a motivation to submit ideas and proposals to their company on a long term. If there is an efficient way to capture all these high-calibre ideas (by a high quality idea review process), there will be ground-breaking innovations in the long term.
4. The very nature of conversations and discussions will change. Employees will collaborate in internal networks to develop long-term solutions apart from their short term responsibilities.
2.3. Different thought processes and hence different teams for short term and long term vision
Creating and designing short term and long term strategy requires fundamentally different thought processes.
Short term focus requires you to take some key business decisions on improving market share of your existing products or services or venturing into new geographies. For creating a winning short term, you need talent with excellent problem solving skills and ability to take difficult decisions under pressure and excellent managerial skills.
Long-term strategy on the other hand fundamentally challenges the manner in which businesses are run in the present. It requires you to deliberate and understand the changing trends in technology, workforce, talent, shift in economic activity, demographics, preferences of customers etc. and create ideas and innovations that will secure the future for the company. For long-term strategy, you need talent that has entrepreneurship ability and has a 'divergent' way of thinking and can visualize the future. The Managerial skill set is also different and tends more towards ability to motivate and collaborate.
Short Term Vision
Long Term Vision
Focus is on improving market share of existing products and services
Excellent Problem Skills needed
Excellence must be in taking decisions in crisis-of-the-day situations
Fundamentally challenges the present business models
Entrepreneurship Ability needed
Excellence in Motivation and Collaboration on a long term
As we can see, long term strategy requires a fundamentally different thought process and different set of competencies and hence requires different Individuals than that required for creating short term strategy.
I propose having two separate teams in the creation of long term strategy and short term strategy. When these two teams present their case for investment allocation separately to the C-suite, there will be a healthy tension as well as a clearer picture on the focus areas for investment than when the same team presents both short term and long term strategy.
The C-suite must rethink its methodology of creating long term business strategy:
1. It must be willing to delegate part of the strategy to lower hierarchy levels
2. It must identify highly talented people with both excellent problem solving skills as well as great entrepreneurship skills. I suggest grooming talent with entrepreneurship ability right from middle management levels. They can be encouraged to work in small teams in startup-like environments and a specialized training plan can be designed to further develop their unique competencies. Mentors must be identified for the top talent with a vision on long term strategy.
3. The C-suite and the board must decide and agree on the number of meetings to discuss exclusively long term strategy.
4. Collaboration with researchers and academicians in the top B-schools must reflect the focus on long term vision.
5. The C-suite must constantly design and review various metrics that will give a clear picture on the various issues related to long term vision and strategy.
6. The C-suite can explicitly define and announce incentives and recognition for employees involved in creating long-term winning proposals.
2.4. Redefining Business Research - The need for divergent line of thinking for generating best insights on long term vision
Designing a robust long-term strategy requires not only strong entrepreneurship ability and a strong executive direction but also should be backed by very high quality business research and insights from a back-end department.
Research on short term again differs from research on long term. The long term research needs competencies to challenge existing business models, to think divergently and the research division focusing on long term takes on a more advisory type of role.
I strongly suggest reorganizing the teams focused on the long term and redefining their profiles, their roles and responsibilities.
My vision of a strong business research and advisory department that is focused on a long term is as follows:
A. Roles and Responsibilities
1. The Business research division must be able to identify accurately the changing mega-trends, business challenges and shifts, and more importantly must be able to identify these trends much earlier than competitors. The business research must include the novelty of the research as one of the important parameters to be consistently delivered.
2. The Business Research must be adept at accurately predicting the possible competitor responses to the future.
3. The division must deliver its own discretionary actionable plans to the top management and senior management.
4. The division must be competent in analyzing different business models from various industries and modifying them and customizing them to its company's operations.
B. Functioning and Management of the Division
1. The Research Division must be set goals by the top management to deliver a minimum number of high-quality business proposals and insights every year.
2. Employees in the division are highly talented, well paid and the division is marketed internally as the division for the most talented employees.
3. The Researchers are given intense training in developing entrepreneurship skills and creativity. Specialized training modules, activities and curriculum must be designed.
4. The division must have support from internal Data Analytics divisions or from external third party Analytics Vendors.
5. The researchers engage in internal and external collaboration. Goals must be set to increase the generation of insights from external collaboration.
6. The Research Directors and Analysts may have their own internal blogs (where they share their latest thoughts and insights) that can be publicized in the company. They can be incentivized for such posts based on the popularity and number of 'high-recommendation' ratings of these posts. They can also be incentivized for innovations that derive inspiration from their thoughts.
7. The division must ensure that a research resource is disseminated to all the relevant employees and appropriate tags can be generated.
8. The research division must have a responsibility to compulsorily rate its every original research resource and must be highly critical of its own research. For example, consider the following rating system:
Rating 1 - Minor Process Improvements suggested
Rating 2 - Research provides critical insights of the future
Rating 3 - Research provides highly innovative action items for the management regarding the future
Rating 4 - New Business strategies, business opportunities, acquisition or partnership suggestions and other proposals that will give the company a clear competitive advantage
Rating 5 - Suggested Disruptive Business Models and Business Proposals
Such a critical 'self-rating' would motivate and automatically reorient the company to produce very high quality research.
9. Highly innovative employees from other departments like HR, Marketing, IT etc. must compulsorily be asked to work for a certain period in this research division which will be beneficial in both 'directions'. The other employees will have a better direction to their thinking when they go back to their departments and the researchers will come to understand the practical feasibility of their proposals. For example, the research may require that certain new attitudes and values be inculcated in employees of Marketing department. This approach will make it easy for the department to reorient itself in the right direction.
10. The Business Research division must clearly provide its suggestions on how the talent resources in the company must be reoriented and the competencies that the talent must accrue.
11. The Research Director will in effect be functioning like a private equity manager. He must encourage freedom and discord among researchers (which is in contrast to what you will need for short term research - more discipline). He decides on which areas to focus and allocate time to and will be monitoring the performance of the research groups.
The Business Research division as I have mentioned is most essential when it is setup by conglomerates. A big pre-requisite of this division is a strong executive direction of this division. The company can design innovative metrics for measuring the importance of this division in creating a competitive advantage.
2.5. Education and inclusion of customers in creating long term vision - steering thinking and efforts in the right direction
Increasing the efforts to reach out to customers and clients to let them know about the company's long term vision and include them in the creation of the complete strategy is needed in this age of rapidly changing trends.
Efficient preliminary customer research followed by educating the customers about a company's future vision (sometimes to create a demand) and triggering reactions and including these suggestions in reshaping the strategy is essential for a long term vision to be certified as a winning one. Let us consider an example from IT outsourcing.
Cognizant Technology Solutions - a US based company which has its offshore operations inIndiaare marketing a piece of their thought leadership - 'Future of Work'. The 'Future of Work' is inspired by three basic premises:
1. A new set of business challenged caused by proliferation of new technologies like mobility, social media, cloud computing etc.
2. A completely new set of business models and the expectation of customers to be treated in a certain differentiated way.
3. A new generation of customers and employees who have grown up with technology and have completely different expectations of technologies.
Cognizant hence urges corporations to - Rewire the operations, Rethink Business models and Reinvent your workforce.
It is important to note that though they may not be the first company to realize these challenges of the near future, they are certainly the first among its Indian peers to showcase this thought leadership. Most of their marketing messages consist of their efforts related to preparing businesses for the 'Future of Work'. The website designed for the purpose is very interactive and showcases examples and scenarios from various sectors and the competencies of Cognizant.
Their seed funding for the launch of Center for Future of Work atCarnegieMellonUniversity(to research on technology and social systems that will enable next generation organizations) lend further credibility to their efforts.
The above example illustrates the first step - 'educating' clients and customers about the long term vision and why that vision is needed. Consider this stage of strategy to be like a 'beta' stage software release. The next step is to trigger reactions from clients/customers about the long term vision and involve them in co-creating a competent modified strategy.
The companies which move early in the above two aspects and strive to be the best in them will most likely enjoy a great mindshare and hence a reasonable head start when they actually rollout the services and products. The above approach will also help break out of mindsets like fear of cannibalization of the existing product lines and will steer innovation in the right path. Companies like Google may not face any crisis if they do not market their long term vision, but in sectors of extreme competition, measures like including the customer in co-creating a long term strategy becomes highly necessary.
I suggest developing a competency in marketing and triggering reactions from customers and clients about the long term vision of the company. This requires:
1. Forming and training the Right team: Companies must invest in developing creativity and entrepreneurship ability for years in their sales and marketing teams and other talent.
2. Excelling in Collaboration: Collaboration both internal and external must become an inseparable aspect of creating long term strategy. While incorporating suggestions from clients and customers, it is essential to collaborate with clients as well as with external partners like niche startups, research institutions, alliance partners and freelancers to create products and offerings that would live up to the hype of the long term vision that was marketed. Goals must be set on collaboration and the performance must be reviewed.
3. Learning from Others: The Organization can take efforts to build case studies of the various examples of marketing of long term vision by other companies - focus must be given to those companies that operate in a scenario similar to this company.
2.6. Benchmarking Long Term Vision
To verify if its long term vision is competent enough, the company must benchmark its vision with competitors and companies of other industries. Benchmarking strategy is difficult for some sectors because the exact confidentialities are known, but still a few programs and initiatives can to a certain extent demonstrate the thought process of companies and can hence be benchmarked. Benchmarking the vision is relatively easier for companies in the knowledge domain.
Benchmarking the strategy and vision is a tricky and a very discretionary process as the thought process and other aspects of vision is being compared.
The questions to be asked are:
Which are the entities and types of companies you can benchmark against?
What are the various parameters to be benchmarked to determine the competency of your long term strategy?
I believe apart from competitors, the company can benchmark its strategy and vision with some non-competing companies with the following characteristics:
1. The company must operate in a similar competitive environment
2. The nature of demands and the profile of the company's customers must be similar
3. The regulatory, geo-political climate and other such external factors must be similar
4. Similar market size
5. Comparable employee strength and employee profiles.
6. Similar Growth rate and performance
Creating a portfolio of such companies for the purpose of frequent review will be highly beneficial and both short term and long term decisions of such companies can be analyzed.
The following are the parameters in my opinion, that must be taken into account for benchmarking against competitors and non-competing companies with similar profiles:
1. The Opportunity of the Vision: The targeted market size, revenue opportunity, market standing etc.
2. Completeness of the Vision: It is necessary to analyze how convincing the vision and the strategy of the company is taking into account the many challenges. Such an analysis will raise questions on related and associated aspects like the skills of the talent involved in creating the strategy, collaborators, partners etc.
3. Strength of present competencies to fulfill vision: The distinct competencies of the companies must be analyzed as well as the unique competitive advantages that are accrued due to them. Will give a clear picture as to what competencies are to be urgently developed in the order of priority.
4. The conducive factors that will aid the vision: Will give a clear understanding as to how stable the vision of the company is.
5. The level of risk involved while executing the vision: Will prompt the thinking of the likely possibility of failure of the vision.
6. Track record and skills of managers involved in the vision: Is crucial to bolster the existing leadership team and orient it for the long term.
7. The impact of partners, stakeholders and external collaborators in executing the vision: Will raise serious questions on how supported the vision is and what magnitude of difference will the present set of partners and collaborators make. Also to be analyzed are the likely evolution of these external collaborators and partners.
8. The response of consumers to the vision: How enthusiastic are the consumers to your vision and your competitor's vision? Where lies the difference? What efforts (like better marketing campaigns) must be taken? Questions are aplenty!
9. The response of investors to the vision: How are the markets and investors reacting to the vision? This will detail the extra efforts that are to be taken to gain the confidence of investors.
The company must put together a talented team and support it with necessary resources in benchmarking the above aspects and parameters of long term vision. This approach to benchmarking of strategy would enable a company to visualize clearly if its strategy is competent enough for the future and if necessary it can modify its strategy early with fewer consequences and can also bring in new competencies. The above 9 parameters is a pretty good snapshot of which company would be the vanguard of the future.
I also suggest that 'learning from competitors' be made a way of life in a company. One question: Do employees in your company gossip about competitors, their services and their offerings? Efforts must be taken to make employees aware of competitor services, offerings, their differentiating features etc. and must be encouraged to discuss the competitor’s chances over their company. Employees can be urged to submit essays on competitor offerings, write internal blogs on their differentiating points as well as the company can facilitate periodic chat rooms to discuss about competitors.
Only if such a level of awareness and education about competitors are present, will the employees have a mindset of innovating in the long term to better competitor offerings.
2.7. Have a Collaboration Plan in Long Term Strategy
A company must have a well thought out collaboration and co-innovation plan for creating and executing long-term strategy. A company can target collaboration and co-innovation with various entities for generating accurate insights on various aspects of the future, building a portfolio of future alliances and partners, innovating in new business practices and creating new intellectual property that will underpin new business models.
Some of the external partners that companies would like to target are:
1. Academic Institutions
2. Research Institutions
5. Venture Capitalists
7. Industry bodies
8. Clients and Customers
I suggest a portfolio approach to collaboration to gain the maximum in collaboration with each type of external partner listed above. There must be an owner for collaboration with each type of partner.
This approach will empower a collaboration owner to set goals, devise innovative strategies for better collaboration and monitor the results of each type of collaboration. The collaboration head will rate the performance of each collaboration owner and suggest incentives based on the benefits of the collaboration. Collaboration owners must be chosen based on the proximity of their experience or the skills set of working with a particular type of external partner. For example, a former research professor can be the owner for collaboration with research institutions and when it comes to startups, the owner may have been associated with venture capitalists or at least must have proven entrepreneurship ability.
A sample 'Collaboration Planning Sheet' in my opinion would contain the following fields:
The implications and benefits of having such a planning sheet are self-explanatory.
Collaboration is becoming easier and simplified today with new technology solutions. A planned approach to collaboration in my opinion will enable a company to create a more competent long term strategy and will be better prepared to execute it.
2.8. The 'Mentor Marketplace' - A vital cog in creating winning ideas for the future
I envision the 'Mentor Marketplace' to be a collection of the most talented senior employees in the company who will act as mentors.
Strong collaboration platforms and contribution platforms and tools must be established in a company. Employees can contribute their ideas just like the system here in MIX. Employees with the best innovative ideas for the long term after initial filtering and screening process must be appointed mentors. Mentors will bring in valuable insights and experiences and this will enable a further refining of the proposals and ideas.
First of all, why talented senior employees in a company would want to be mentors? Why should they take up this additional responsibility?
1. They would like collaborate to create the best proposals.
2. They would want to be associated with the ideas and the proposals that would result in the growth of the company
3. They will want to augment their own knowledge and get fresh insights
4. They will want to be recognized by their peers for their contributions
5. They will want to be involved in new exciting projects within the company
There are many stages in having a successful mentor marketplace:
Huge emphasis must be laid on carefully choosing the right mentors as a bad mentor will most likely sabotage a brilliant idea. Being a 'Mentor' must be marketed as a honor in the company and some peer recognition strategies can be devised. Ideas can be matched with mentors based on the area of expertise. The mentors can set goals for the evolution of the proposals and after development will rate it based on his discretion. He will then submit the highly rated and fully developed proposals to the top management.
The Mentors can be incentivized based on the number of high-rated proposals that he is involved in and also on the number of plans implemented that passed through him. The Mentorship process must be flexible, for example a mentor can collaborate with other mentors in different business units on a single plan and they must be encouraged to do so.
A high quality 'Mentor Marketplace' will be an important source of competitive advantage to the company.
2.9. Redesign the Appraisal Process - Making Long-term thinking a responsibility
The Best way to make long term thinking a responsibility and to provide a strong incentive and motivation for the employees to innovate is that it should be reflected in the appraisal and review process. Wiring long term thinking to the appraisal process goes a long way and results in much more than acting as a motivation and incentive.
What must be the purpose of an Ideal Appraisal Process be?
To make sure that the employee finishes the work allocated to him
To drive the employee to do much more than is expected of him
To give a feedback to the employee on his performance and action points for improvement
To identify and retain the best employees who have made unexpected contributions
To identify and reward the employees who have made contributions
To take stock of the contributions of the employee that was not expected of him, and implement them across the company
While the appraisal process of most companies takes care of the 'Expected Contributions', it fails to take advantage of the 'Unexpected Contributions'.
I suggest that the appraisal process consist of two ratings - 'Expected Contribution Rating' and 'Unexpected Contribution Rating' and can be rolled out for employees at least from mid-senior level and above. For example the ratings under the reformed appraisal process would look like below
Expected Contributions Rating
Unexpected Contributions Rating
The unexpected rating can be for the innovations and contributions in the long term, with rating of 1 being minor process improvements and progressively, rating 5 being transformational proposals and innovations.
The following are the advantages of this reformed appraisal process:
1. It will create a mindset that the organization expects long-term thinking from employees in the mid-senior level and above and that it is a responsibility.
2. It acts as a strong incentive or motivation to innovate as appraisals are an important aspect of peer recognition
3. Very importantly, this system ensures that the best of the ideas and proposals are not lost. How? A single query on the names of employees who have got a rating of 4 or 5 will make sure that the top management understands the most important contributions that have been made. These employees can then be called for meetings to present their plans and contributions and efforts can also be taken to retain these employees
2.10. Metrics to review 'Long term mindset'
The top management can review metrics to gauge the balanced long-term mindset of the company - whether all the stakeholders inside the company are oriented towards planning for long term as well as short term. Some of the metrics can be:
Long term innovation focus
This metric will aim at giving a picture of whether the innovation projects pursued by the company are truly long term
Methodology and Benefits: Take an inventory of all the current innovation projects and proposals in the company. Rate each of them purely on the long term impacts and benefits of such innovations on a scale of 0 to 5 with 0 being of no long term value and 5 having transformational and disruptive business value in the long term. Take a weighted average of all the projects with time, efforts and investment components (each of the components can be applied separately and also together).
A low weighted average rating would mean that the company is not spending enough time, effort and there is less investment in long term innovations. The current strategy can then be reviewed.
Business Unit's satisfaction of long term planning
This metric will aim to determine if each business unit is getting due attention in the long term strategy
Methodology and Benefits: Employees in middle management and above (in each business unit) can be asked to rate on the satisfactory levels of long term planning in their business unit. This can be used as an approach to find out criticisms of the strategy as well as to crowdsource important suggestions on how the long term strategy must be evolved. Suggestions can range from work culture to products and services.
Employee's long term mindset
This metric will analyze whether the employees are confident enough of the company's future plans
Methodology and Benefits: Employees at all levels and hierarchies can rate their expectation of the company to perform well in the long term and can provide their comments and suggestions. Filters can be used to analyze which segments of employees do not expect the company to perform well and reasons can be sought. This metric will be instrumental in generating critical insights.
Employee's awareness of the long term challenges
This metric will analyze if a majority of the employees are aware of the long term business challenges and whether the efforts of the Organization to educate the employees on long term challenges were fruitful.
Methodology and Benefits: Tough quizzes with multiple choice questions can be uploaded on the portals with the theme of long term challenges and trends. Participation can be made compulsory. The distribution of employees across the different score ranges can be plotted. Low percentage of employees in the high-score band can provoke a company to redesign its initiatives to educate employees on long term strategy.
3. Social Responsibility
I work in Tata Consultancy Services, a Tata Group company noted for its high ethical standards, a high level of respect among the Indian public and the reputation of being pioneers in nation building and giving back to the community.
I will set the context for this section with three quotes from different chairmen of the Tata group.
"In a free enterprise, the community is not just another stakeholder in our business, but is in fact the very purpose of the existence of our enterprises" - Jamsetji Tata, Founder of the Tata Group
" The wealth gathered by Jamsetji Tata and his sons in half a century of Industrial pioneering formed but a minute fraction of the amount by which they enriched the nation. The whole of that wealth is held in trust for the people and used extensively for this benefit. The cycle is thus complete. What came from the people has gone back to the people may times over" - J.R.D Tata, Chairman of Tata Group (1938-1998)
"I believe the Tata model of business is a more sustainable model because we really do care" - Ratan Tata, Chairman of the Tata Group
Companies can make their businesses socially accountable and responsible in multiple approaches:
1. Empowering Communities - By using the core competencies of the company with the objective of empowering communities in the region where the company operates in order to enable people to take a lead in their own lives and improve their well being.
2. Collaborating and Innovating to find low cost, affordable solutions to problems of poor communities
3. Redesigning Business Models - Business models can be redesigned to increase the social benefits accrued to consumers and to include communities in the equation wherever possible and also increase their benefits in the value chain.
4. Making Internal Business Processes Accountable - All decisions right from purchase of environmental friendly chlorine-free office paper to key business decisions must be socially accountable.
5. Encouraging Employee Participation in Volunteering Efforts - In organizations where the skills set and competencies of talent is varied, employees can make a big impact on communities when encouraged to use their skills set and core strengths to improve the lives of communities.
6. Corporate Philanthropy - Many companies participate in funding events, disaster relief and fund NGOs etc.
I will illustrate some of the above efforts with recent examples and in the process will attempt to delve into the thought process and the mindset required to be a truly socially responsible company.
A strong pre-requisite for any of the above previous approaches to create long lasting positive impacts to the community, customers and society, is a combination of strong personal values, personal commitments and organizational values.
3.1. Defining and Displaying Executive's Social mindset and goals - The first step towards a 'net positive' social contribution
I specify it as 'net positive' because, I believe in the absence of strong personal commitment from the top executive and organizational values oriented towards society, the net social impact may still be negative, how much ever corporate philanthropy initiatives are taken.
MindTree Limited, a mid-sized Indian IT consulting and implementation company was founded in 1999. When the founder team wanted to design a logo for the company, they met with ten students at the Spastics society ofKarnataka,India- a school for children with cerebral palsy. The group outlined MindTree's mission, vision and core values and the team explained some basic concepts of graphic design. The team decided to adopt the logo created by a student who had motor and speech disability.
When the top management in a company sets such a simple yet powerful example, it will create an indelible impression among employees about the commitment of the company to the society. It can change the outlook of the entire company towards society. Importantly, this will encourage employees who have a greater affinity towards caring for society and community, to innovate with the society in mind and will make them more socially responsible.
I therefore, suggest that the top executives of companies who have a personal commitment to improve society and communities, to display that commitment with an objective to encourage employees to be more socially responsible.
Many companies also create socially responsible definitions in order to set a corporate creed in delivering social value to their customers and society. The CEO of Bombardier, Pierre Beaudoin in an interview with Mckinsey Quarterly mentioned that the aerospace division of the company changed its mindset from a company that flies planes to a company that flies people! He suggests that this mindset had not only resulted in new features that added more comfort and value to customers but also entirely changed their design outlook resulting in huge profits.
I had the opportunity to witness a panel discussion 2 months back when the CEO of Tata Chemicals, when talking about their flagship product, Tata Salt mentioned how the company not only views salt as a taste enhancer but also as a vehicle to deliver important and healthy micro-nutrients to the millions of Indian households (They even published a book in 2005 - 'The Romance of Salt'!!!). They were the first branded mass-market iodized salt to the Indian market which greatly reduced the occurrence of 'Goitre'. This mindset will push the R&D department to focus more on important health issues and try to solve them with Salt as the medicine.
A social mindset of the top management and the company reprioritizes innovations and focus and will help in redefining what actually adds real value to customers and society. Hence, the executives must take all efforts to display their commitment to employees to plant a strong social mindset in the company.
3.2. Empowering Communities through core competencies of the Company - The TCS Example
The following example is an important lesson in illustrating how core-competencies of a company can be used in empowering poor communities.
TCS has focused CSR initiatives in three core themes: Education, Health and Environment. The TCS Strategic Perspective for selection of communities follows the framework as follows:
Once, the issues and partners are selected through the above framework, TCS then uses its core competency in IT to innovate and create solutions to problems faced by these communities in the above listed issues.
A few of the very recent initiatives and incidents where TCS has used IT are as follows:
1. Computer-based functional Literacy: This flagship IT offering of TCS has now covered more than 1,40,000 persons and delivers the Adult Literacy Program in 9 Indian Languages, Northern Sotho Language, Spanish and Arabic. There is currently a new initiative in development of a solution for the Moree language spoken inBurkina Faso,West Africa.
2. TCS is the official partner in the Government of India's National Literacy Mission Authority Program - 'Literate India' - that seeks to cover 70 million illiterate individuals by 2020.
3. mKRISHI: An award-winning mobile agro-advisory service that offers personalized and integrated service to bring vital information on weather, fertilizer requirements, pest control and current grain prices to farmers. This has been deployed in several villages.
4. Childline2.0: A nation-wide up-scaling of network of 83 helpline centers for children in distress with optimized service delivery and mobile connectivity and a donor management system.
5. TCS built a MIS system for ImpactIndia foundation to help track success against targets and improve traceability and accountability. The foundation is part of an international initiative against avoidable disability like Cleft Palate.
3.3. Collaboration to develop low-cost affordable solutions to poor communities - Tata Swach
Tata Swach is a break-through, multiple award-winning low cost water purifier produced and marketed by Tata Chemicals. It is believed to be the most cost-effective purifier. Tata Swach (Swach means 'clean' in Hindi) is about one-third the cost of Unilever's low-cost purifier. Its huge advantages are that it does not need electricity, boiling and running water - a huge advantage asIndia has 400 million people without electricity and running water. This innovation will hugely reduce the many cases of water-borne diseases.
The initial concept of this purifier came about in TCS. The requirements of chemical engineering, nano-technology necessitated the collaboration among the relevant Tata group companies - Tata Chemicals and Titan Industries. The purifier took a decade to develop and was hastened by water-related issues caused by the 2004 Tsunami.
This product, which has an enormous potential social impact brings to the table an important line of thought:
1. Identify potential new innovations even if unrelated to the core operations of company (TCS is an IT services company)
2. Identify capable collaborators and partners in further developing the innovation
3. Identify a potential social value proposition for the Innovation
4. Build a sustainable, profitable, business that has a wide impact
3.4. Redesigning Business Models - PruHealth
A company's own business model can be modified to include communities and increasing the benefits that are accrued to them in the value chain. Nestlé’s efforts to collaborate with farmers in Moga Milk District in India and investing in local infrastructure and transferring world class technology to build a competitive milk supply chain has been illustrated in the famous paper on Creating Shared Value (CSV). ITC Limited's ‘e-choupal’ initiative is similar - it aims at empowering farmers with real time information through technology and eliminating the exploitation of 'middle men' in the Indian agri-business market.
Also, Business models can be redesigned and there is scope for innovation to seek ways of increasing the social value to customers, especially when the number of customers covered by the business is huge. PruHealth is such an example.
PruHealth is aUnited Kingdombased joint venture between Prudential and Discovery Holdings of South Africa and specializes in Private Medical Insurance. It was awarded the most innovative new product in 2007.
PruHealth's positioning is 'Health Insurance that rewards you for living well'. The Innovative Business Model has many 'Health Partners' including gyms, companies selling fitness equipments, health foods companies, health clinics, screening clinics etc. PruHealth offers discounts to its customers on memberships with these partners. If the customer shows evidence of becoming healthier, then PruHealth reduces his premium quote. PruHealth defines three bands - Bronze, Silver and Gold with Gold being the healthiest group of customers. PruHealth defines what it calls 'Vitality Points' -points that you earn for being healthy. Healthy customers are rewarded with discounts in exchange for the points from its other type of partners - 'Reward Partners' consisting of travel agencies, entertainment companies etc.
The PruHealth business model not only promises an important value proposition in Insurance (low premium quote) but ties to a social value proposition by 'forcing' its customers to get healthy.
We need more such pioneering business models from other sectors that would result in significant social value proposition to customers.
3.5. Increasing Employee Participation in Volunteering Efforts - The Power of informal decentralized employee peer networks
When it comes to encouraging employees to participate in social and community activities, I envisage the model similar to what happens in a church - believers strive to bring non-believers to prayer meetings and sermons. The employees with high interest and propensity to participate in volunteering efforts must take efforts to ensure that employees who do not participate in community activities begin to take part. Therefore the efforts of the Organization must be aimed at providing a platform for the highly interested employees to volunteer and also encourage these employees to inspire other employees to take part. The Peer and group pressure effects will take care of the rest.
TCS volunteering efforts are conducted under the umbrella of the MAITREE Program - the flagship volunteering program of TCS. Under MAITREE, TCS Employees are encouraged to volunteer for various kinds of programs and initiatives. Point of Contacts and Leads are identified in every account in every business unit and they are encouraged to form interested groups of employees. These groups are given a lot of freedom and creativity to organize their own programs. Many small groups of employees promote the causes they like and plan and visit communities with their friends.
Very visibly giving them the freedom to organize and conduct their own initiatives has worked well in increasing their satisfaction levels. Employees are encouraged to take pictures and post them on the MAITREE link and the 'Fun at Work' links on employee portal. TCS conducts awareness sessions on these initiatives for entry level employees.
Though it is highly decentralized, every account owner reports the MAITREE activities in that quarter and account CSR leads and the teams win awards for the best initiatives and it is much publicized internally.
The advantages of such a decentralized model of volunteering are:
1. The freedom and creativity of highly interested employees are unleashed and also increases their satisfaction levels of employment in the company.
2. The range of issues tackled is diverse
3. The peer pressure acts well in getting other employees interested when such social volunteering efforts come are not strictly supervised by managers.
The gross impact can be measured by reports collated through competent self-reporting by volunteers, guidelines for which can be given by the company.
3.6. 'The CSR Recommender' - Enabling maximum use of the skills set of Employees for social efforts
Employees usually fill in their details on employee portals including their hobbies, interests and extra-curricular activities. I envision the 'CSR Recommender' can be a feature or an application in these portals that will formulate a recommendation to an employee on the different CSR initiatives that he can be involved in depending on the values entered in the different fields.
The methodology for a successful version of such an application is as follows:
1. Surveys can be disseminated to find out the different social and community interests of employees. Information can be modeled matching these interests with the hobbies, skills set, culture, region and other aspects of the Employee.
2. These insights - that match a recommended CSR activity with the employee data can be hard-coded on 'CSR Recommender' application. When a new employee uses this application, the application would recommend a CSR activity based on the date he has entered.
3. The application can also recommend some Partner NGOs and CSR programs in the area in which the employee resides matching the recommendations.
4. The application will also list the names of other employees with similar recommendations and they can be encouraged to collaborate with each other.
5. The application can also provide links to the various knowledge sources in the employee portal that contains information on the recommended CSR activity.
This 'CSR Recommender' application will pique the interest of the employee and also increase the efficiency of the process. It will give an employee the intended message that the Organization expects him to be involved in such activities.
I strongly suggest that for greater efficiency and for reducing the cost of the above process, data can be modeled by an Industry Body and funded by its member companies. A common CSR recommender can then be used by all the companies. A collaborative product will be of a much better quality.
3.7. Incentives and Rewards for Social Contributions - Nothing better than Peer Recognition and the Opportunity to contribute more
In my opinion, contributions to society are driven primarily by self-directed motivation powered by strong personal values and hence it is futile designing high-powered incentives and monetary rewards for the same.
The best form of encouragement would be that the Organization never fails to acknowledge his contributions in front of his peers and the Organization provides him with an opportunity to make even bigger contributions and hence make a bigger impact.
The company can start by giving responsibility to department heads to identify and report the employees who contribute immensely to society and engage in innovations for improving communities. These employees can be given high visibility across the department or business units. They must be asked to present their views and vision on how they would be able to make a greater impact. These employees must be allocated mentors inside the company or externally (like academicians, researchers etc). The most talented of these employees can be asked to set up social enterprises and the company either directly provides them with funds or it uses its networks and connections to recommend the employees for funding.
These employees can also be used to encourage other employees to contribute more.
These series of hacks has a long lasting impact and it brings in a fundamental change in the mindset on how an Organizations views the three interconnected issues of values and ethics, long term vision and social responsibility. These hacks will enable the top management to define what it can expect from its employees on the three issues as well as set high standards among the industry peers in values, long term strategy and social responsibility. Specifically in each of the issues:
Values and Ethics - The company will be transformed into an institution that aims at high ethical standards, rewards its employees having strong personal values, supports and aims to transform employees with weak personal values into better role models, creates an environment where employees support each other in times of dilemnas and finally sets benchmarks on the different values that employees are motivated to emulate.
Long Term Strategy and Vision - The company will be motivated to weed out all the barriers that inhibit focus on long term vision. Employees of all levels are engaged in the co-creation of the long term strategy of the company and the company is more open to criticisms and comments. The company is also better positioned to predict the response of customers to the long term vision and is able to crowdsource these reactions and turn them into critical insights to modify the vision for the better. The company becomes more competent in comparing its vision to that of its competitors and employees of all levels of the company are knowledgeable about the competitor offerings and strive to better them. Support systems are in place to enable the talented employees in creating winning proposals for the future. The company identifies the right potential partners and collaborators for the successful execution of the long term strategy. Talented people who are competent in divergent thinking and have contributed for the long term vision of the company are never falied to be acknowledged.
Social Responsibility - The company's top management relook their personal commitment to the society and set strong examples for the organization, therefore inspiring the organization to contribute to the society. The company will strive to use its core competencies for the betterment of the society, collaborate with like minded institutions and organizations and redesign its business models for a greater social value proposition. Participation of employees in volunteering activities will not only increase through proliferation of informal, decentralized networks... the company also strives to help employees make their best contribution to the communities. The company also provides opportunity for the employees to make more contributions to the society.
1. The Organization must first review its existing systems and the present employee mindset to chalk out their appropriate strategy
2. The top management must convince the business unit leaders on the need for focus on these issues and workshops can be held.
3. Company wide communications can be initiated on the intentions and commitment of the company in these issues.
4. The company can also take efforts to include employees of all levels in the creation and execution of its strategy on these issues.
TCS Ethics Counsellors
Mckinsey Quarterly's articles on extreme competition
Interview of Pierre Beaudoin with Mckinsey Quarterly
Cognizant's Future of Work website