An average person spends 90,000+ hours at work over their lifetime, which constitutes about one-third of an average lifespan1. Also, work-related attributes play a prominent role in signaling one’s identity and status. Naturally, our work and careers have a deep impact on our overall satisfaction-levels and well-being.
The tiers of human needs
Research has proven that several tiers of motivations drive our attitudes towards work. The Maslow’s Framework succinctly describes this hierarchy of needs, according to which, humans are expected to progressively cross the 5 tiers of latent needs i.e. physiological needs, safety needs, love & belonging, esteem, self-actualization2. Each tier is present within us in varying proportions and drives our attitudes, making each one of us unique just like every unique combination of R(ed), G(reen) & B(lue) components that make colors distinct.
Led by higher-order motivators
There is empirical evidence that, as our motivators shift to the higher order needs, we tend to experience a deeper and lasting sense of fulfilment and meaning. Also, as our center-of-gravity shifts from one tier to the next, our ability for problem solving, value creation and making a difference goes up manifolds. Undoubtedly, our quest should be to continuously push our motivators to the higher-order needs. However, this journey of transformation also brings in the increasing role and contributions of our environment – comprising our teams, peers, leadership, our entire organization and even its ecosystem of customers and partners.
The paradigm shift from “me” to “us”
As a corollary, in this transformational journey, we also need to consciously work on attitudes and behaviors that impact not only us, directly, but also others around us. To make this happen, we need to definitely continue working on individual excellence; however, more importantly, we must transcend this mindset and realize that we’re actually part of a larger cosmos. We are both the creators and consumers of benefits that we universally desire!
The need and importance of culture
That’s where the role of culture comes in – which is really a combination of values and habits that permeate an organization. It is also commonly referred to as the “smell of a place”. Imagine, if we all agreed to abide in word and spirit by certain cultural tenets, wouldn’t we all benefit from it together? In our daily lives, we see culture at play when traveling through road traffic. In this context, all travelers are expected to demonstrate certain agreed and collective behaviors – such as, which side of the road they should be driving, and how traffic-light colors and sign-boards would regulate their on-road behaviors. Haven’t we seen how situations quickly escalate into traffic jams and even accidents when someone decides to break this agreement? Individual deviant behaviors result in everyone on the road experiencing inconvenience and frustration.
Culture as a transformational lever
Culture is considered as a potent lever of transformation to help drive individual, team and organizational performance. We often hear about culture being acclaimed as the key driver behind the celebrated stories of companies like Apple, Microsoft, 3M, South-West Airlines and countries like Japan, Israel, Singapore, South Korea – that have demonstrated consistent innovation and noteworthy growth in the face of intrinsic and external headwinds. Likewise, every organization has the potential to tap into this transformational lever and catapult itself into a different league altogether. However, it needs a framework – a guiding light – to help its employees orient towards a desirable culture.
Growth mindset as the panacea
The concept of the growth mindset has emerged as an effective framework to help navigate not only one’s career – but even other aspects of life. It could actually be used as a navigator in our journey of graduating across tiers of motivation. So, what is a growth mindset? It is the firm belief that we are in control of our own abilities – which, in turn, can be acquired and sharpened by our conscious efforts. It liberates us from the limiting belief of our abilities being the result of innate and genetic endowments. Growth mindset recognizes and bets on the power of nurture over nature!
Culture – The DNA of Wipro’s CIO function
Wipro’s CIO function provides backbone support to its various business critical processes through a robust landscape of business apps and IT infra. It is a large-sized and matrix organization geared up to support its 182K+ users in 59 countries on a 24x7 basis. It is also entrusted to drive digital transformation across Wipro. The function is driven by the 4 tenets of the CIO vision viz. user experience, trust enablement, business-IT alignment, & pride of CIO.
These tenets drive a sub-culture within CIO function that, on a closer observation, instantiates the overarching Wipro cultural values in its unique context. This culture has enabled the function to efficiently and effectively respond to the disruptions caused by COVID-19 crisis¬ – especially, the sudden and unforeseen switch to WFX (work-from-anywhere).
Culture has also facilitated the function to credibly mitigate and manage the numerous risks and vulnerabilities stemming from this crisis by iteratively and speedily regulating Wipro’s security posture. Also, several agile and experimentation-based initiatives have been spawned off to help evolve Wipro-contextual solutions to help embrace and flourish in this new normal.
A resilient today and tomorrow
Unmistakably, the cultural tenets are fanning the tailwinds for the CIO function in its endeavor of helping Wipro successfully steer through these unprecedented times. Within the pandemic-driven ordeal exists an opportunity for the function to emerge a more resilient, transformed, and valued organization.