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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 7 May 2013
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. Not trying to claim this is not the case anywhere else but the author at least does an excellent job of demonstrating how to do it right (as opposed to just paying lip service to the new fad of the day).

If you are looking at the book from a 2013 perspective (the turnaround started in 2005), some of the things do not seem as new as they were when introduced (where many were much closer to, or at the leading edge). This should not deter you from reading the book, though - the explanations, the overarching plan and the consequent implementation is what matters and where the book delivers very well.

In the end you may forget the employees first, customers second catchphrase, or use your own. Still, the book is likely to garnish you with some solid concepts that will help you in improving the management of a medium sized or large enterprise. In spite of all the useful advice, success will probably still be highest, if you initiate such change from high enough up (like the author), otherwise many of the ideas will probably fail to penetrate the resistance of the status quo defenders.
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VINE VOICEon 24 October 2011
Nayar identifies the part of the organisation that creates value - the people who work for the customers. With the right support, these people can create much more value for customers, which means the customers will create the business success that the organisation wants.
This book is more than the exposition of a theory. Nayar became CEO of a $700million turnover 30,000 staff professional services company in 2005, and he describes the journey he and the company traveled, from a company that was being left behind, to a multi-billion turnover (Turnover for the most recent 3 months was $1billion) 80,000 staff company with 21% growth year on year.
This brave CEO rethinks the very basis of 19 and 20C business management. In a knowledge economy, knowledge is power, so each level of management jealously guards his or her knowledge because it appears to be the sole reason they hold that management position. What if you share your information with the front-line staff, the people who create value? What if the whole company, all of the support functions, the office of the chief executive, are dedicated to supporting the front line to produce the highest quality, best, and most effective experience for your customers? What if you (as Chief Executive) refuse to pretend that you have all the answers, and instead insist that people come up with the solutions themselves? Surely 80,000 heads are better than one? They know the customers better, they know the technology better, they know their own passions better.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and Nayar has transformed HCL Technologies. The numbers speak for themselves (4X increase in turnover and 2.6X increase in employees in 5 years is impressive in anyone's book). But the reputation that HCL Technologies holds has also transformed, both as an employer and as a supplier.

This is a book everyone should read. It's relevant to industry, to commerce, to public sector, to charities and voluntary sector. Even if you don't do everything that Nayar suggests, you'll pick up ideas to focus on value creation. See also [...]
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on 16 January 2018
Yes a good book just what was needed. THANKYOU.
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on 15 September 2015
Excellent book. I've been applying this for years. Just wish I'd written the book. It's not your typical book about management, but that's what makes it so good. This one isn't all theory and nonsense, it actually works!
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on 12 March 2014
I worked at company where all concept described in this book had been implemented (though, not fully and only 70% or so).

After reading this book, I realised how important is remaining 30% to achieve stated objective.

A must book for any one working in software industry..or big SI companies.

Though, it is bit repetitive as well in end...as there are 4-5 main ideas and then Author keeps on referring same.
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on 14 January 2016
a good read
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on 24 August 2014
Very interesting points of view and principles.
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on 21 November 2010
I chose this book with an interest into how company's can be turned around, I work for the NHS and it could certianly be applied in this current climate!
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on 28 July 2014
I liked this book because I have a takeaway that I can apply in my company tomorrow morning.I was having excuses because this would not work in Africa but now am convinced and double convinced.
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on 6 April 2014
Excellent publication as long as it's read with an open mind as it does make.
Recommended flex your board room colleagues
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