A collective is often diverse. Harbouring different feelings, outlooks and measures of success. Uniting a collective across these parameters takes great skill and vision.
In 2008, the senior management at Aditya Birla Group had begun to realise that even if each member of the business had immense talent and promise, it was often left untapped through lack of voice. Even when the business heads were taking small steps towards change, they weren’t being carried forward seamlessly to every member of the team.
It was becoming even more important with the economic downturn and global recession. On December 16, 2008 CASH (Collaborate And Scale Higher) was launched. The Chairman activated high level task forces for collaboration among businesses with a common goal of being more efficient, open and collaborative. The whole world at that time was going through the worst economic crisis of the recent times. But this wasn’t enough to deter the plans for a bigger goal. The first three areas of focus were Petroleum Product and Coal; Logistics and Administrative overheads. Several cross business teams were formed by the Chairman.
Each member of the team was chosen for their expertise in their field and their qualities as a leader.
This was one of the first times that such a wide group with different ideas, thought processes and experiences were put together to collaborate towards a single goal. A time when everyone in the team could feel included, all ideas heard and all decisions unanimous. Despite it being an additional responsibility, each and every member was excited to be a part of these pioneering teams.
The teams had clear objectives and timelines. The elected leaders had the freedom to plan their work and contribute to the major outcome in the end. This led to amazing discoveries within teams and the group as a whole. Everyone began to realise ideas that could stem out of an individual and exponentially increase the overall efficiency of the project and Aditya Birla as a whole. CASH took on the challenge of untapped synergies across employees, systems and processes and created a system that not only worked harder but brought people together. E-mail addresses soon became faces and faces became friends.
In the beginning, it looked like a massive undertaking. There was hesitation and a need for reassurance. But every doubt was put to rest once the results started flooding in. Every idea was employee-friendly and was seamlessly integrated into the everyday functioning. It’s said that you can never make everyone happy. CASH proved it wrong. Within a year of its launch, it had advocated ideas driven from on-ground expertise, agreed streamlined processes and created not only savings but a sense of pride.
This was only the first step towards consequent years of success in various other areas like Plant Maintenance, Risk Management and Retail Management. Uniting people across businesses, functions, tenures and roles.
This machinery of groups that aimed towards maximum efficiency, couldn’t have worked without every part of the team fitting effortlessly like pieces of the same puzzle. This collaborative effort created bonds and committed partnerships that any paper, contract or pledge couldn’t have. The huge financial savings were just an offshoot.