Identity and cohesion
The JSM team operates out of two main offices: one in Secunderabad (the point of origin) and one in Gurgaon (relatively newer set up). The Secundarabad office with its team of experts in statistics provides the foundation for JSM in analytics. The Gurgaon office comprises our team for business development and technology. All fields are essential for a company of our size – and require a very different kind of mindset and different aptitudes. They are only different sides of the same coin, the one company, JSM to which both team and management are equally committed.
It was only recently that we started to ask ourselves what kind of bonds they are that unite us all and create what we call JSM? What is it that makes us JSM people? What exactly are the values and principles which bind us together and which are so important in shaping and informing everything we do? What is it that makes us the way we are?
After all, it’s one thing to say that we care about such values as integrity, transparency, honesty, participation, equality and so on. Yet it’s quite another to create a company environment in which such values and principles really count and are an integral indispensable part of daily business. At JSM we evolved a broad consensus that it would be an important milestone in our company’s history to find out who exactly we are as a company and what we want to be – for ourselves and for others. But not only that: we wanted to create an environment where theory and practice coincide and overlap, where aspirations meet performance so what we want is actually what we live out. This is why we started a journey all of our own – let’s call it the JSM culture path.
Three months ago we embarked on this path by starting regular alternate day virtual discussions using Skype and Google docs. This debate spanned a two month period helping us identify a common set of values and guiding principles and giving us greater clarity on such issues as
- how we slowly need to move out of some of the undifferentiated work we do,
- what totally new capabilities we need to build and where we,ourselves, need to improve,
- which activities we need to focus on for firming up a bright future and
- where we want to go.
The next stage was to ask for proof of concept. So we did what we’ve never done before. We invited our entire management team into the jungle – for three days of brainstorming, reflexion, discussions with some pretty important decision-making at the end. All these decisions were made by the entire team of 13 managers. And some of them have already been turned into action. We are just about to launch our new intranet which has built-in transparency and participation. This will challenge our team and revolutionize our previous management style because instead of a “command and control” management setting the tone and telling people the way to do it, in future they will only have the right of veto. We are implementing a 360 degree evaluation of all our employees and projects. We have started to draw up white papers on our training and performance policies. And above all, we have committed ourselves to include reflexion and discourse as vital parts of all our activities.
So why are we doing this?
At JSM we believe that company culture is not at all a mechanical engineering process. No, it’s much more akin to gardening because a company is a living organism and not a machine. In other words if we get the conditions and the environment right at JSM then all of us – employees, management and shareholders alike – can flourish and bloom. Then the garden of JSM will become lush and colorful, and prosper.
We passionately believe that the intelligence of the collective is much more than the intelligence of the management team – and acting on this conviction we are nurturing daily discourse and interchange across the whole company and making time for reflexion. This is an exciting ongoing process, which might be painful for the management every once in a while – but even so we are convinced that it yields tremendous benefits and is the ONLY WAY to get the BEST out of all of us for YOU.
And we believe that a consensus culture like this where each employee takes ownership of what they do is the one that will attract the very best talent available. And with the very best talent we can do BIG things.