Sunday, September 1, 2013

Francisco D’Souza, C.E.O. of the information technology company Cognizant, says "we institutionalized a set of things to create rituals, heroes and legends."

See Francisco D’Souza of Cognizant, on Finding Company Heroes By ADAM BRYANT, from the 9-1-13 NY Times. Excerpts:
"Q. What’s unusual about your culture?

A. We’ve organized the company in a way to make sure that we continuously delegate and empower people on the front lines. As we got bigger, we would take larger units and break them down into smaller units and give individuals a sense of ownership, creating very clear success metrics around those individuals.
But when you decentralize and empower, you have to make sure you don’t wind up with lots of microcultures, because every leader, every manager, puts his or her stamp on the culture. Culture gets passed along not by writing it down, but through the rituals you have in the organization, the legends you refer to, and the heroes of the organization. So we institutionalized a set of things to create rituals, heroes and legends.
For example, we have a tradition of naming the associate of the year — we use a process in each region to find the single associate who contributed well above and beyond and, through his or her actions, exhibited the traits of the culture that we thought were important. We similarly institutionalized a ritual that we called the project of the year. And we rent stadiums around the world and bring all the employees and their families for a celebration, with entertainment and awards.
Q. How do you hire?
A. I’m looking for passion. The person I’m hiring needs to have passion for what they’re doing, and they need to understand where that passion comes from. They need to be in touch with that. You need to know what drives you.
And you need somebody who’s got just raw smarts and talent and an innate ability to learn. Because the thing about functional expertise is that unless you’re in some very specific area, almost everything that we need to do our job becomes obsolete quickly, and the half-life of knowledge is becoming shorter and shorter. So do you have the personal agility to continuously renew those skills, to reinvent yourself?"
 A person "needs to have passion?" Sounds like you following your bliss, as Joseph Campbell would say.
"You need to know what drives you?" Maybe you need to know what myth you are living by, as Carl Jung migh say.