Monday, 19 April 2010

Leading from the Front – The Philosophy of Putting the Employee First

This post is dedicated to the Memory of Prof. CK Prahlad

“Good human relations not only bring great personal rewards but also are essential to the success of any enterprise” said the visionary JRD Tata.

“When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” said George W. Carver, and that is precisely what we realised that in the knowledge industry, Value is created, not at the top, but from the front line – in face-to-face interactions between the customer and employees.

This  gave  birth  to  a  path breaking  concept  in management  called  the Employee  First  Philosophy (EFP) one of the most modern management ideas of our times.

It is a bold statement to make, and even more daring to uphold, in the fiercely fought competitive market of today. However, such is the realism, execution and communication of this concept- that customers, employees and all other stakeholders embrace it with the most positive mindset, and everyone reaps the benefits of this paradigm.

To quote Voltaire’s adage, “Common sense is not so common”, value is created at specific touch points – primarily when a customer meets and interacts with an employee, secondly when he experiences our products & solutions and lastly from Top Management cues – this is INVERTED PYRAMID OF THE NEW KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY OF TODAY.

The CEO of today is the Chief Empowerment Officer and the employee enabler of the knowledge economy, not the Chief Executive Officer and the command and control center of the industrial economy.

Every employee under EFP is an Empowered Employee, a Brand Ambassador with decision-making rights, and the right to take calculated risks. EFP employees build the brand with their hard work, spirit of innovation, passion for quality, and commitment to customers. Ensuring that they are provided the requisite skills, support, knowledge, recognition and a passionate place to work is the CEO’s job.

I would like to end with another quote from JRD Tata, which reflects the EFP spirit - “We have retained the fire of idealism and in its glow we have come to recognize that no wealth or power can be more valuable than our dignity; no loss or profit can be more critical than the loss of our credibility; no skills or qualifications can substitute the integrity of our character.”


Additional Reading –

The Starbucks Case Study –

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