Redefining ‘care’ at CAERE
Christopher learnt that in any ecosystem, the people who manage and maintain your workplaces are not seen as partners in the success of the business, but as mere support staff. He wanted to bestow upon these employees twice the value that they provide to the company, seeing it as the only way to transform lives. This would go beyond just monetary compensation.
In his quest for people-centric solutions, Christopher already knew that the regular ‘quick-fix’ approach of getting a consulting firm on board would not result in the turnaround he was looking for. He then remembered how one of his former bosses was so inspired by the story of Ricardo Semler, that he decided to gift all his clients a copy of Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace.
“Every blue-collar worker should find happiness and fullfillment in my company”.
He then reached out to Harini, a Semco Style Institute partner in India, and wrote, “I dream to transform my company into one where every blue-collar worker finds happiness and fulfillment. I want to learn from you!” This was the start of a new journey. In leading the transformation, Harini felt the approach should be simple and as personal as possible. Therefore, before implementing models, training and other radical changes, they immersed themselves into the business —becoming insiders, understanding the culture, and making people feel safe and comfortable with a new team around. The gradual six-month process gave way to a strong foundation that transformed CAERE in such a way that everyone was involved.
Aligning the interests of all stakeholders across regions — managers, and individual employees — became vital to understanding that without a complete buy-in from all, no change will happen. The process of breaking down regional and bureaucratic silos, installing a two-way communication mechanism, and creating a strong retrospective instrument were key to creating a sense of ownership in the organization.
“If you want to change the nature of your fruits, start working on your own fruits.”
According to Christopher, building a strong personal relationship with peers equips them with the right tools to make a difference. It also gives them a voice to express themselves, which does not happen when there is a rigid system in place. Following a philosophy or mantra urges one to contextualize a situation and adapt its principles accordingly. In order to stay aligned with this philosophy over time and create clear boundaries, Christopher and his team scheduled weekly meetings that focus on individual development. This, he says, “lies at the root of organizational progress”.
One of Christopher’s greatest learnings was that to transform lives, he had to transform his own belief system first. Put differently, “If you want to change the nature of your fruits, start working on your own fruits.”