Friday, 14 September 2012

HCL's Nayar Has Set a Benchmark For Peers

In his latest blog, the HCL Tech CEO exhorts his peers to listen to Gen Y and involve them in the decision-making process

Gen Y, according to Nayar,  has a refreshingly different point of view that adds a new shape to existing thinking 

By Francis Adams

For Generation Y, the sky is not so high.

People from this generation (those born in and after 1980) have a leg up over and mind ahead of their predecessors, the Baby Boomers (born between 1945 to 1964) and Generation X (born between 1965 to 1980) because of their familiarity, in many cases mastery, with technology, communications and the multi media.

Referred to by various names such as, Echo Boomers (because of the considerable increase in birth rates in the 80s and 90s), Millenials, Internet Generation or  the Net Generation, Nexters, Generation We and Global Generation, Gen Y has been entering the workforce fully empowered and discerning amidst chaos yet socially delirious, thus, allowing the Baby Boomers and Gen X to label them capricious.

Vineet Nayar.
Pic courtesy
Vineet Nayar, Vice Chairman and CEO of the $4.2 billion HCL Technologies Limited and a Baby Boomer, is among few corporate bosses worldwide who have been spotting, nurturing and helping unleash the true potential and talent that Gen Y has to offer.

"I work with young minds; zealous and restless young leaders who are passionate about changing the world," says Nayar in his latest blog "The goldmine of the  “beginner’s mind” – has your team tapped it?"

Visibly, the only Indian CEO and among a handful globally who is an active  blogger, Nayar is credited as the radical thinker --- he realized the needs and  value of Gen Y much ahead of his peers -- who initiated HCL Tech's 'Employees  First, Customers Second' (EFCS) strategy that has transformed the company into a global information technology services giant.

According to the company's website, it is among the only seven from more than 3,000 technology companies in the Bloomberg database that has a revenue of more than $2.5 billion and a market capitalization of more than $5 billion.

Nayar, who has also written the widely acclaimed book "Employees First, Customers Second: Turning Conventional Management Upside Down" says in his blog that most managers in the corporate world are guilty of not involving the young members in the team in the decision-making process or on critical projects.

He wishes CEOs paid more attention by shunning legacy systems and decoupling power and position and instead broaden their leadership by empowering employees to take up responsibility for change. Nayar proferred this view in another blog  "CEOs, Get Out of the Way!" that he wrote for the Harvard Business Review.

To Nayar, Gen Y's is the beginner's mind, one with endless opportunities and possibilities and which has a "refreshingly different point of view that adds a  new shape to existing thinking." He has quoted Shunryu Suzuki, the famous Zen teacher and author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind who has said: "In the beginner’s  mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few."

To a large extent, Nayar's actions reflect the Zen Mind taught by Shunryu Suzuki. Zen Mind, according to the book, is one that is neither your ordinary nor your personal mind, but one which makes you "notice yourself, to go beyond  the words and wonder what your own mind and being are. This is the purpose of all Zen teaching -- to make you wonder and to answer that wondering with the deepest expression of your own nature."

Both, Nayar's blogs as well as Shunryu Suzuki's book are must-read for today's Gen Y and other corporate head honchos.

On his part, Nayar has set a benchmark for other CEOs, those with none or poor social media presence, on how not to shy away from it, rather embrace it to create your personal brand.  By doing so, CEOs are likely to put an end to murmurs that, according to personal branding expert Tanvi Bhatt, includes: "The moment you walk into a roomful of Dignitaries, Nobody recognizes You!

Alternately, CEOs will also benefit if they heed to Nayar's call that says: "Listen to these young people. They have the courage and conviction to think afresh and make a positive change."

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