The Gift of Ageless Values
I hope and pray this message finds you and your loved ones in pink of health and spirits. This is second year-end in a row that we are talking like this… over a camera! These digital shows are now a norm – watching in the comfort of our homes, good career, growth, family around… everything is perfect! Except for one thing: How long will this work-from-home continue? If it continues, will we pay a price by stagnating with no workplace exposure? These doubts are meaningful, and if they have crossed your mind… you are not alone. Everyone is wondering about the same subject, many thought leaders have already spoken on the matter and I am sure you will like to know views of the Cybage CEO as well. Only problem – your CEO is not a global thought leader, my exposure is local. This Cybage is my little world. That’s where my learnings reside. So for the next 10 minutes, I will share what Cybage has taught me over the years, and let’s see if we can make any sense from our past about our future.
When Cybage was a toddler, it was being raised by a middle-class mindset. What is middle class mindset? Limited means! Parents can’t afford to compete with others, they need to focus within their four walls, secure future of each family member – no favoritism, we just draw happiness in relationships with all our loved ones. Internal focus, fairness, relationships – three simple mantras of middle-class. And that’s how Cybage was raised. It couldn’t spend the money it didn’t have to build brand or capture customers. So instead of benchmarking against peers – we decided to focus internally, create fairness in dealings with customers and employees, and grow through relationships. Our simple formula worked… with each passing year we became more successful – comfortable, secure and happy – all the wonderful things that sometimes appear too good to be true, just like our current work-from-home setting. By the time we entered our 25th year of existence… mid 2019.. the ride was so smooth that we started doubting our own success mantra! Cybage’s founding principles may have got us here but are they good enough to take us to next level? That’s the thought that started crossing the minds of even our die-hard veterans.
Then as debates started heating up in our boardrooms… Covid came and overnight things changed. Forget about the merits, the relevance of our success mantras itself came under existential threat! How does an organization sustain its internal focus when employees themselves are residing outside the company? How can we deliver fairness to our stakeholders without an opportunity to make eye contacts? And how do we build relationships with those we have never ever met? Cybage had an identity crisis. Fortunately we were not alone. Cybagians themselves were going thru their own identity crisis – Covid had changed their approach towards life. It happened in three phases.
First phase …working from home with no in-person mentors, Cybagians had no choice but to become more self-sufficient, focused on their individual delivery excellence as the room for mistakes was less. Inspired by their attitude, the organization too decided to double-down on its internal execution rather than depend on outside stimulus … Even though business opportunities were abundant – we started saying “no” to many prospects and became selective to ensure no compromise is made on existing accounts and our workforce faces least disruptions in an already challenging environment. With both Cybage and Cybagians finding comfort in our organization’s first founding principle – Internal focus – the outcome was external. In spite of zero marketing initiatives, the calendar year 2021 witnessed bumper growth in every industry vertical we service, with negligible customer dropouts. We are now clearly on our way to clock the highest growth rate in a decade as we cross 1500 Crore annual revenue milestone!
Then came the second phase — working in solitude was not the only challenge. All of us now had to worry about the health of the loved ones, take over responsibilities of the elderly, help with household chores, take turns to babysit or monitor out-of-school kids – in essence, even if we were the primary bread earner – we had to be fair to other family members when it came to sharing of duties. As the organization watched in fascination the fairness trait of Cybagians, it was motivated to uphold its own high standards of impartiality in dealings. With massive open requirements – the temptations were strong to hire at any cost and negotiate endlessly with resigned resources. However, these discriminating actions would have delivered injustice to the rest of Cybagians. So, what did Cybage do? It took cue from Cybagians and our second founding principle… maintain parity between existing as well as prospective employees even if it comes at the cost of growth. And yet.. interestingly, in spite of choosing the stringent path of discipline – our organization’s strength galloped and galloped and today we proudly stand at 7500 Cybagian milestone!
Then came the third intervention of Covid.. Staying together over a prolonged pandemic led to closer bonds within families… Cybagians began to realize that it is not necessary to have a battalion of social friends, just few meaningful relationships are all we need to feel complete. Their realization on the value of human bonds rubbed on to Cybage as well, amplified when we grieved the loss of six precious members of the Cybage family in second wave, which in turn led to the birth of CovidSanjivani to reach out to the affected underprivileged sections of the society. On customer front itself, there was volatility – some were benefiting from Covid, some were collapsing. And we chose to stand steadfast with all our close ones, honoring relationships over business – our third founding principle. Eventually the global markets bounced back, our partners remembered and reciprocated with billing rate increases across the board, just as Cybage didn’t forget those who had made it happen and honored its end of the bargain with guaranteed full variable, three back to back appraisals, and another promising one slated for April 2022.
And that is where our story stands today, the founding principles of Cybage – internal focus, fairness and relationships, that we were beginning to doubt.. Cybagians reminded us of their timeless value. You see, Cybage is but a mirror of Cybagians. These values were not invented by Cybage, but by early Cybagians who brought them to the company. Cybage has no authority to question these values, for it is a mere custodian to pass them from one generation of Cybagians to the next! In fact, even if Cybage wants to change them, it can’t. The boardroom debates on this subject are meaningless.
Just like the discussion of hybrid work models, even if Cybage wants to do it different – it can’t. No organization, including your Cybage, has a choice .. all companies would be extending more autonomy to their workforce. The industry as a whole will figure out what’s the best hybrid model, and your Cybage will be united in that approach…a few eligible ones will permanently from home, while rest will enjoy a more flexible home-office environment, custom tailored by every organization.
The more interesting part of the question however is … would this new work model compromise on our long-term growth? Well, it is a big change, and changes do bring disruptions. If tomorrow’s world indeed is going to have less in-person interactions – every organization will need (1) stakeholders who understand the value of being self-driven, (2) intent and methodologies to deliver fairness to those we don’t know personally, (3) build relationships with those we have seldom met.
Now is it possible to create these pillars overnight? No, you can’t. The value pillars take a long time to nurture before they get institutionalized in the DNA. When thousands and thousands of believers, generation after generation, keep reminding their employer of its founding principles, it is then that a thought leader of tomorrow is born. And that pedestal of thought leadership is where your Cybage finds itself today, as we enter the golden-era of digital adaptation across industries in the post-Covid world. So thank you Cybagians.. not just for our incredible past and glorious future, but for gifting your company its very identity, its value system. May God continue to bless your values, your dreams, and all your loved ones. Have a fantastic 2022.