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Employees First, Customers Second: Turning Conventional Management Upside Down Hardcover – 1 May 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business School Press (1 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422139069
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422139066
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 233,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

"How can a company "take a chip out of the marble façade of the office of the CEO?" asks Vineet Nayar - a provocative question coming from someone who himself is a CEO. One method: Post his 360 feedback on the intranet for all employees to see."

A passionate yet disruptive thinker, Vineet has infused HCL with a unique brand of energetic leadership. Convinced that leadership lies at the bottom of the corporate hierarchy, his Employee First, Customer Second philosophy nurtures this talent ground up. The success of this radical transformative approach has received recognition at Harvard Business School and institutions across the world. Fortune magazine coins his leadership style as "The world's most modern management".

Since 2005, when he became President and later CEO of HCL Technologies, Vineet has led a remarkable turnaround that saw the company triple its revenues and income growth. The value-based leadership simultaneously resulted in the company being ranked by Hewitt Associates as the Best Employer in India and by BusinessWeek amongst the top five most influential companies in the world.

Beyond the corporate sphere, Vineet is also a founding member of the Asia Gender Parity Group at World Economic Forum (WEF), an active member of India Council for Sustainable Development (ICSD) steering committee, and has also established a non-profit organization called SAMPARK in 2004 which has a vision of "creating a million smiles" through improving the quality, infrastructure and opportunity for education to the underprivileged.

Vineet is an avid blogger. He hosts his own blog at www.vineetnayar.com and is amongst a select group of discussion leaders invited by Harvard Business Review to host a regular blog at http://discussionleader.harvardbusiness.org/nayar. This blog is aptly titled 'Inverted Wisdom.' You can also follow Vineet on twitter at http://twitter.com/vineetnayar

Product Description

Review

Nayar's devotion to employees may be the best way to maximise long-term shareholder value. --The Economist, April 22, 2010

[Nayar] has a management philosophy...that has been garlanded with awards. Some fans, such as Bill Clinton, take it very seriously. --The Sunday Times, May 9, 2010

The book explains the methods Nayar used to accelerate the exceptional growth of HCLT...this is an excellent book. --The Financial Times, June 3, 2010

Nayar has produced a refreshingly new take on two things: The way business books are written, and the way businesses should be run. --wordandmouth.com, June 29, 2010

The complete inside out story of how to achieve a change in the way your employees think and act...
--ILM Edge magazine, July 1, 2010

A compelling mix of personal anecdote, frank admissions of doubt plus insights into how to drive a transformation. --HR Insights, 5th August 2010

Well presented, challenging ideas that should be widely read. --Professional Manager, 1 November 2010

Many people can say this sort of stuff. The difference is, Nayar has done it...the book explains how. --Irish Times, August 2010

Nayar's 'Employees First' model for employee engagement turned HCL from a second-tier Indian IT firm into the country's fourth largest. --Financial Times, 7 October 2010

About the Author

Vineet Nayar is the CEO of HCL Technologies Ltd., India's leading global IT Services Company. Fortune magazine called his leadership style "The World's Most Modern Management" and the London Business School labelled him "the leader of organizational innovation." IDC recognized him as having "the most cohesive and articulate vision" in the IT services sector.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris TOP 100 REVIEWER on 21 Sept. 2010
Format: Hardcover
As I began to read this book, I recalled again the comments of Southwest Airlines' then chairman and CEO, Herb Keller, when asked to explain his company's competitive advantage: "Our people. We take good care of them, they take good care of our customers, and our customers take good care of our shareholders." Vineet Nayar's concept of Employers First, Customers Second (EFCS) could be misunderstood to mean that an organization's customers have secondary importance. In fact, as Nayar explains, customers are the ultimate beneficiaries of EFCS. Kelleher makes the same point in the remarks quoted earlier.

Here's the challenge for C-level leaders: How to establish and then sustain am employee-centric organization? Nayar write this book in response to that question but I think he has accomplished much more than he may have originally intended. With all due respect to the importance of crating what Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba characterize as "customer evangelists" in a book that bears that title, I think Nayar is advocating an even more important role for employees' relations with customers: as co-creators. He advocates "inverting the management pyramid," beginning with front-line employees, and fulfill aspiration needs, notably the need to give everyone a sense of purpose, to address the need for what Dave and Wendy Ulrich call "gthe why of work."

I agree with Nayar that customers should be among those who are centrally involved in an inside-out transformational process by which to adopt, implement, and then strengthen an organization, guided and informed by an open business model such as the one Henry Chesbrough describes: "A business model performs two important functions: it creates value and it captures a portion of that value.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By AK TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 May 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Vineet Nayar has produced a summarized account of the turnaround he helped mastermind at HCLT, a leading Indian IT company in this book. While accounts of this sort often risk turning into an advertorial for the company or the CEO, in this case I would say the author managed to successfully thread the thin line and deliver content first, with the company itself remaining more in the background.

The premise - somewhat provocatively named 'employees first, customers second' - is that often most value in companies is generated at the bottom layers of the pyramid and that it is exactly those people there that should be empowered by management, so as to deliver the maximum value to the customer. In the end, as the author repeatedly mentions, this does not mean putting the customer second as such, it just means that priorities internally should lie with enabling the employees to be as effective at solving customer issues, as possible.

Specific issues tackled are the role of management, communication channels, reorganizing support functions, blue skies strategies, etc. If you have been working in a larger company in the recent years, you will definitely recognize some of the approaches - such as ticket systems for support functions (although if the companies I have worked with in the last years are indicative of the whole, this has been sadly successfully resisted by all but IT departments), various blogs and other social media like platforms enabling employees to confront top management with inadequacies they face in their daily work lives, etc. What I find refreshing is the introduction of those as a coherent whole, with clear objectives behind and a constant development.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. William Oxley VINE VOICE on 30 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is the simple story of how one man went about the challenging task of running a huge almost directionless global conglomerate into a cutting edge innovate group of companies across the globe all pulling in one winning direction. AND succeeding!
"
The title of the book was spot on. It had me hooked. Put your employees first goes ahead of the typical sales mantra that "the customer is always right" rather like the annoying financial mantra that a "sale is not a sale until the money is collected". Recently my own company has started to invest heavily in the more talented and hard working employees because that is where the future success of the company will come from. So what does Nayar add to this?

The Indian IT company HCLT was one that I had never heard of before, (I have heard of Tata), but do not let that put you off. For here is a company that goes on to disrupt the status quo in IT consultancy. How?

1. Mirror Mirror. Creating the Need for Change. Basically Point A is where the company now. Point B is where Nayar wanted to take the company. And to make the journey the company would have to change so radically because there was no easy steps moving between the 2 points. The radical change was within the concept of putting the employees first. Why - because they are right at the front face dealing with customers in the value zone. If they are not in it to win it, then the customers will get a poor service, and HCLT will not get repeat business.

2. Trust Through Transparency. Creating a Culture of Change. Why would anybody want to change when habits create a stress free environment, and change disrupts peoples' power bases, or creates more work?
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