Resilience by Collaboration: Building and Thriving Through Ecosystem and Organizational Synergies
Ramkumar (Ram) Narayanan leads strategy and growth for VMware’s largest global center outside of its headquarters in Palo Alto, USA. This includes working closely with the company leadership on portfolio management, talent strategy, and positioning of VMware as a leading organization in India. Before joining VMware, Narayanan served in global leadership positions at eBay, Yahoo!, and Microsoft.
There is more to a crisis than disappointment and pain. VMware India lived up to the dictum ‘never waste a good crisis’ by using some of the opportunities arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic to create a new organizational framework for resilience.
Ramkumar Narayanan spoke about an enterprise-wide exercise the organization undertook undertook at the start of the pandemic that involved over 300 employees to create a structure for strong alignment between strategy, execution, and outcomes. The key objective was to identify and harness opportunities in the existing ecosystem to build a resilient organizational structure. It would nurture an environment that drives ideation, a collaborative network, execution excellence, and business impact.
“Organizations cannot be fragile that break easily and cannot tolerate shocks. Being robust is not enough; you can survive shocks but being robust means staying the same and not having to adapt. We need to have resilient systems that thrive in adverse conditions, and help us learn and grow,” he said.
The company built a ‘5P framework’ of key pillars (focus areas), programs, projects, performance metrics, and people.
One of the key learnings was to internalize project management as a strategic capability to deliver value. The company also realized the need to move from an activity-based mindset to an outcome-based mindset, create cross-functional synergies, and take advantage of the opportunities in the ecosystem of partners and associations.
The initiative has helped in breaking down silos to bring people together, create strategy alignment with organizational goals, develop an outcomebased approach with key results identified for over 60 projects, create new partnerships such as those for diversity and inclusion, and define rewards and recognition to inspire teams.
● Make mistakes and learn by taking up projects with a high degree of uncertainty.
● Be open to change.
● Stay curious by taking up courses, listening, and reading
● Innovate by building buffers to absorb shocks from failures.
● Develop hobbies and experiment with new ideas and tools.