Advanced Operating Models
Jun 14, 2018

Imagining the way forward by applying lessons of the past

At Genpact, imagining the infinite possibilities that lie ahead is part of our DNA. We solve complex problems with data and analytics, envisioning what we can do to create an exhilarating future for the global enterprise.

I rarely get the chance to look at the future through the eyes of our next generation of business leaders. However, I recently had such an opportunity as guest lecturer for an executive MBA program led by Filippo Passerini, formerly Group President of Global Business Services and Chief Information Officer at Procter & Gamble, and currently an Operating Executive with The Carlyle Group, at the prestigious Politecnico di Milano in Milan, Italy.

After presenting a case study on key strategic decisions we've made as a company, I was thrilled by the students' reactions to our story – their questions on our strategy, their astute observations on our changes in direction, and their willingness to engage in discussions about business problems of tomorrow.

Their passion led me to share with them some of the lessons I've learned during my 20-year journey with Genpact:

1. You can't set yourself apart without focus

As we were building our business, we grew opportunistically across multiple solutions and verticals. While this was a great way to make immediate impact, it wasn't creating the right foundation for the kind of business we wanted to be. So, we took a step back and focused our efforts and resources on becoming distinctively good at a few things and developing differentiated offerings based on that focused approach – and we've never looked back.

2. Learning to say “no" is vital

We all know it's easier to say “yes" than “no," but our experience at Genpact has taught us that saying "no" ultimately created much better outcomes for our clients. But you must have a reason for your decision – and be willing to back it up. At Genpact, the decision to narrow down and differentiate our offerings, which meant turning away from certain geographies and industries, wasn't made lightly. But we had to do it to build a sustainable future as a company and drive better client value. It would've been easier, and less painful, at the time to continue as we were, but we needed to make the most strategic choice, not the most comfortable one.

3. Always put the client first

One of the most important things we learned early on is to stay intensely focused on the client, and we've never wavered from that commitment. Our clients trust us to deliver critical business outcomes, and we take that responsibility very seriously. We take the expertise we've acquired from running thousands of processes and critical operations for hundreds of clients and put that knowledge into practice, working side by side with our clients every day to deliver real-world transformation. Through a combination of deep domain expertise, digital capabilities, and clear understanding of client needs, we can create innovative solutions for the most challenging situations.

4. Change or perish

Genpact has a long history of driving change, whether as one of the first companies to introduce Six Sigma principles into business process outsourcing or, more recently, the way that we have changed the entire company on the pivot of “digital." Because change is integral to our work, we're adept at partnering with clients who are looking to embrace new ideas and technologies in industries where change is constantly redefining the new normal.

It was incredibly rewarding to be able to share these learnings with the business school students. To have even a small role in shaping the next generation of business leaders was a truly enjoyable experience. As I continue to imagine all the possibilities that predictive analytics, AI, and other digital technologies will bring to us, I can't wait to see how these bright students will shape the enterprises of the future.

About the author

BK Kalra

BK Kalra

Global Business Leader, Consumer Goods, Retail, Life Sciences & Healthcare

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