Making of the MindTree - I
Our second Vision reflected our need to build an enterprise that would truly have an international look and feel. To be truly international we needed to develop software code internationally.
It also reflected a model by which we may grow our competencies wherever it makes best sense but we will also keep the kitchen close to the dining table of our customers.
Our third Vision seeks to create substantial shared wealth for our people. We do not believe that the future belongs to a business model that perpetuates a "winner takes all" mind set. We will consider ourselves very fortunate if we can make substantial, irreversible difference in the lives of ordinary people. History tells us that it is always the ordinary people, who given a cause and the wherewithal, deliver extra-ordinary impact on a sustainable scale.
Our fourth Vision bound us all on an emotional chord that was very central to the motivation to create wealth. We see ourselves as a knowledge company. As a result, we want to support knowledge where its making is most fragile. We want to put aside a significant portion of our profits every year to support government sector's primary schools in the societies that we work in.
As a little boy, I grew up in the tribal districts of Orissa. Till the age of 8, I was not sent to school, as there were none close to the ramshackle government houses we lived in. Later, when I went to a school in a backward district called Keonjhar, I used to sit with forty odd children on a durry on the floor. Only from the seventh class on, you could sit on a bench. The school had a science lab but no apparatus. We never did any experiment and the roof made of earthen tiles leaked in monsoon and often during rest of the year, sparrow eggs fell on our heads, eliminating the need to look for protein rich shampoo. I am sure the plight of government schools has not changed in all these years and the examples of misery are quite scalable across continents.
We think our Vision to make indelible difference to at least some of these schools makes business sense. It will help us attract a kind of employee, and in turn, it will help us attract a special kind of customer.
Having settled our Vision, we asked ourselves, what would be the "core values" upon which we will build the enterprise. Flowing from the Mission and the Vision, we settled for six core values. These are: -
- Reduce Total Cost of Ownership for our customers
- Partnership is the cornerstone of our existence
- Respect individual contribution but, value Teamwork higher
- Create an Organization based on learning, innovation and quality
- Enable employees to rise to full potential and reward with wealth creation
- Conduct ourselves with the highest sense of integrity
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is going to be a critical mindset. While many people think of it as a hardware concept, it is already well known that hardware often accounts for as low as 3% of IS budgets for Fortune 500 companies.
Thus, we want to be able to create an organization that will project a longer term view of the customer's future, reliably predict the TCO for their software and then, using our unique methodology and competency, drive that down significantly.
To be able to do that, customers will need to grant us access to their knowledge and functioning. Therein lies the need to present ourselves not as "vendors" or "contractors", but as "partners". The third core value reflects our collective experience of building and running high performance teams. In some places, I have seen how intellectual arrogance of one individual not capable of teamwork can systematically destroy an organization. We do not want any of that. Our other three values are basic to create a high performance, knowledge organization.
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