It’s happened 3 times now since last Friday – and that’s why I’m compelled to write this today. It cropped up in a business networking conversation about misattribution and within 2 client engagements this week focusing on ‘Engagement and collaboration’ and ‘Purposeful Productivity’.

It is about putting leadership focus and effort on employees first, customers second

Dealing first with the popular misattribution. I have seen quotes including ‘employees first, customers second’ attributed to any number of famous people, most notably Richard Branson. This is wrong.

This philosophy and focus of Leadership was promoted, practiced and proven by Vineet Nayar when he was CEO of HCL Technologies, growing the company six-fold in seven years and employing 100,000 people in the teeth of recession.

He wrote about it in his book ‘Employees First, Customers Second: Turning Conventional Management Wisdom Upside Down’. I highly recommend the book by the way!

You can get a short summary of his book from me – just ask

His TEDx talk on Employees first, customers second is well worth an 18 minute investment. So, if you hear anyone attributing this to Richard Branson or anyone else – shine a light on the inspirational source, and one of my heroes, Vineet Nayar

On Engagement Collaboration and Purposeful Productivity

Every employer I work with is running a successful business. I rarely get involved in remedial work! They all talk about the primacy of their people and they all work hard to recruit, retain and develop the right people to drive their businesses forward. This is true regardless of the size of the business.

And making Engagement Collaboration and Purposeful Productivity happen in a consistent and sustainable way is not easy in the face of constant commercial pressures.

Just 2 insights from 2 recent public events where I was either speaking or hosting:

First: As I said in my presentation at the recent #WeAreSurrey2018 conference on #Socialvalue

‘It is dangerous to confuse and conflate a company’s purpose with the purpose that an individual employee might subscribe to within that company.’ Vineet is big on alignment!

Second: My friend Steve Coburn, MD of Projectfive, was a speaker at a joint IoD and CIPD conference I hosted recently on the topic of ‘The future of work is NOW!’ Steve employs just shy of 50 people and he presented his inverted management pyramid with his name at the bottom point. This is a famous Vineet Nayar transformative device.

What I found very telling within that conference was that many SME business owners could see the compelling logic whilst some delegates from the larger organisations argued that the concept was not ‘scalable’. They obviously did not know about Vineet’s application of this inverted management pyramid as he drove staff numbers from 25,000 to 100,000 during his tenure!

So, I commend Vineet Nayar to you and until next time – be outstanding!