DEMOCRACY AS A CULTURE CODE
DEMOCRACY AS A CULTURE CODE
I write this piece of paper in a setting from where you can’t help but reflect, from the foothills of mystic mountain Kanchenjunga J. Nothing can be more thought provoking than this back drop.
I have been quite an impulsive traveler, and likewise quite an impulsive professional. However, over years of traveling, I have learnt that it is important ‘to live and enjoy the moment’ and not try to cover everything in just one journey, because its never going to be enough just once. Neither travel or work experiences is a checklist and hence there is no one way of making each one of them count!
I can’t be more fortunate to be exposed to companies which taught me not just to learn but unlearn too. Be that be on managing scale at Wipro, to managing depth at Intel, to managing uncertainty at Flipkart. Beyond all these, what I cherish the most is what Litmus7 has been teaching me every day. Yes, CULTURE! and not the way its known as a buzzword or written in management books. Rather as a philosophy that, life is not a race where you have to defeat someone to be ahead. Accept your people the way they are because Litmus7 celebrates ‘YOU’ for ‘YOU’. There is merit in living an un-corporate life, very similar to the way you live in a family. Every time when you enter the office, it needs to be like you are back home.
Yes, such companies do exist and Litmus7 is a testimony to that. There are aspects that make us distinct and unique from the rest of the world.
- Power of democracy: We are a company where there are no managers, no year end reviews, no HR who is after your life to complete a process which, in your mind is a tick mark, no process/policies for the heck of it. Yes, there is a culture code and that code runs on the philosophy that employees run this company the way they run their home. You co-create and take others in the family along with you. Whether you have performed well enough or not is what you decide, not an annual ritual of appraisal process. It’s a bottoms up approach which makes each employee feel for Litmus7 just the same way a company founder would. We run a club culture as a tool for employees to be the part of decision making and ‘voice their noise’, that drives everything which is core to the company. Alongside there is a ‘RIVER’ governance model that drives both tops down and bottoms up leadership. That includes everything: from innovation to performance to employee engagement to culture to key business decisions. It is truly built by the people, for the people and of the people. No decisions are taken by management alone because leaders exist everywhere and hence decisions are also bottoms up.
- Head lies, where the heart is: Litmus7 is a company of hearts and we spend significant efforts in hiring not just the right skill but rather we hire those who have a ‘soul connection’ with us. It is not just enough for us to hire great tech talent but also the people who believe in that bigger purpose and that’s how we drive a sense of belongingness. For us, heart drives the best minds and I have seen that happen real time. I do recall incidents where people have decided to take the plunge without thinking of monetary benefits or corporate stamps of so called experience letter from their last companies and also not because Litmus7 is great but only for the reason that they found their belongingness. That’s the reason why we have grown to be a company that we are today because whatever we did from the day of inception was driven by the hearts of our people.
Just like our new corporate office in the beautiful city of Kochi. Yes, in god’s own country. It is special to each Litmus7ite because this was a special workplace, a dream that finally saw the light of the day. Every employee put their head, heart and hands to really make the way it has come out today and ready to be inaugurated in Jan 18’. It not only boasts of a well designed Innovation hub, but also an amphitheater where real plays are performed, art and design comes to life.
For most, it might appear to be just a nice looking office space, but for our people it is much much more because every corner has a story to tell!
It might not be the fanciest of facility that other large corporates brag about but there is a vibe, a very positive vibe and that’s because the foundation is made of heart. Believe it or not, all of us are big fans of ‘feel’ which make our workplace not just beautiful but full of ‘feelings & emotions’.
- Entrepreneurship in true sense: Litmus7 does not belong to one leader or CEO rather it is run by every employee who thinks and acts like a CEO or company founder would do…That’s the reason we don’t have any policies; we just have a culture code and people participate in building that culture code because our people who work like founders need no policies. They already know what is the right or not so right thing to do. Be that be flexible work options or leave or travel or innovation or growth. Everything that is built by our people is built on a foundation of scale, innovation, leadership and happiness which make us a sustainable organization. These are the principles which drive each employee to be a CEO in their own capacity! We are entrepreneurial to an extent that we don’t even mind our people to be running their own company within Litmus7 and fuel it for something that can generate mutual results.
- World without order takers: Where everyone these days is a tad negative on the offshore services model, our people are busy co-creating and innovating for the customers. Its gratifying to see our customers hold a high bar for each Litmus7ite. This is because our people are not order takers. They challenge and push back and generate ideas to make our customers successful. They live and breathe technology and hence we say that Litmus7ites find an opportunity where the world sees a problem…we take charge when others give up…no wonder we claim respect from our customers and run on zero client attrition.
Question I am asked often is: “Is this culture sustainable in the long run? What will you do, when you grow really large?”
I respond: “We will make it happen and shock everyone. Failure will not overtake us because we are determined by the power of authenticity. A democratic culture code is here to stay”