I often get asked about Netcore’s culture, how did we define it and how do we maintain it. It wasn’t an easy question to answer in the early days because I never really understood what culture in the context of a company was or maybe because there were many other things to worry about. Or maybe because we were small enough that whatever I as the founder did became the culture. But over time, as the company grew, I realised there are some underlying things that define us as a company and need to be explained, reinforced and transmitted. Just as countries and their people are defined by their culture, so too are companies.
Every company culture needs an ideal and a story-teller. In Netcore, the ideal has been Kalpit and the story-teller has been Bhavana. Kalpit, our present CEO, has been with the company since day one. He has risen through the ranks, served in different positions through the years, and rose to the top as Netcore’s third CEO in 2015. Kalpit embodies the spirit of Netcore – humble, humane and yet determined to win. He is very much a people’s person in as much as I am not. Success has not come easy for him and Netcore. It has been a gritty journey through the years – and it still is. Competition comes from many different corners as companies tread on each other’s territories. Netcore has survived and thrived in the midst of all this. Kalpit – like Netcore – has grown with each passing year.
Company culture can be described in words, written on walls, and spoken in speeches. But it only acquires salience through the actions of the leaders at the top. It is what they do and not what they say that matters. Their actions are what drive behaviour of everyone else. And that is why every company needs an icon – a person others can learn from. In Netcore, Kalpit is that symbol of our culture.
Culture also needs a story-teller – someone who can talk about the actions and spread it through the teams. Bhavana is exactly that. She is a natural – when she speaks to the new joinees during the induction programme, she brings to life the atmosphere of Netcore through the stories that have made Netcore live through 23 years. Bhavana brings that touch of family and familiarity. She can connect with people across all levels. No person is small, no problem is insignificant. Conversations are full of anecdotes that reinforce the nature of Netcore. That is how culture spreads – one interaction at a time, one action at a time.
Of late, I too have been doing a bit. I have started a monthly “Ask Rajesh Anything” interaction – an open house where Netcorians can ask any question that they have. These sessions have given me an opportunity to speak about my past and Netcore’s origins – and of course, the future. I have always strived for an open culture, and this is another way of showing it in practice.
For entrepreneurs, culture becomes important as the company grows. It creates the glue that binds people together. It motivates them to do that little extra that can be the difference between good and great. So, ask yourself, who is your company’s ideal and who is the story-teller?
Tomorrow: Part 59