Being an ETian: An Extraordinary Experience
Having worked for over two decades for three large corporations had got me thinking as to what makes a person happy at work and its subsequent impact on the business. I have seen and experienced organizations ridden by unhealthy internal competition leading to an individual attitude of “What is in it for me?” in every interaction.
Is there another question such as: “How can I help?” that can be the internal reference to every employee, and if so, what would the culture of such an organization look like?
Therein lies the founding of ET, an extension of thoughts, feelings and doings of everything that I have always wanted in a work environment.
So, what does it mean to be an ETian and why does that matter?
ET’s culture is defined by a deep desire to “Be Extraordinary” as an individual professional and as a team. ET is filled with inspired and smart people wanting to give their very best and achieve their highest potential. As an ETian, I firmly believe that the client is my ‘only’ boss and everything I do revolves around that. This then leads to a mindset at ET, where a project is considered complete only when the customer is smiling; this value is deeply ingrained in the heart of every ETian. In the early days, this mindset caused losses in individual projects, but somewhere along the way, there was a turning point because that smiling customer started contributing to more business and references.
An ETian ‘leads’ with ‘initiative’ and ‘integrity’ and this expectation is hugely emphasized from day one. ‘Leadership’, at ET, is contextual, and everyone is a leader. As radical as it may sound, this thinking has a very practical view to it. If I’m talking to a project manager, she is the leader in the context of her project and in that, I too report into her. This ensures that everyone rallies around a specific context (a client project, in this case) and its leader receives full support to ensure its success. ‘Initiative’ in ET parlance is lifting up your hands to say “Yes” to as much around you as possible and ‘Integrity’ is delivering each and every time without exception. Initiative and Integrity builds confidence, credibility and trust amongst us as colleagues and more importantly with our clients.
Each person at ET chalks their own career path and promotion timelines through a progression model made effective through defined skill matrix, peer groups and mentoring. In our culture, power is directly proportional to responsibility. The more responsibility a person takes the more power he or she holds. We have very young people at significant levels of responsibility in the company, and power with no-holds-barred on how fast they can climb the success ladder.
We have also taken trust and accountability to a different dimension by letting leads and above decide their own salary raises. The onus is on the individual to rise up to the level of trust placed on them. This has led to very high degree of ownership and trust among people, and in all our years, it has never been broken.
When it comes to open and transparent communication, ETians are expected to break the traditional hierarchies of titles and power. Each of us can express our ideas and opinions with conviction, ensuring the best amongst that surface.
In ET, I have discovered the proof points that I sought in the founding, where the internal question of “How can I help?” creates a healthy work environment of competence in comparison to competition, which in its truest sense, aligns to our guiding value of delivering Client Bliss. It also inspires every individual ETian to reach their highest potential as professionals and that journey is destined to be a happy one with smiling clients showering accolades.