A leap into the un-known


I left HCL in a huff late in 1990 and joined Xerox .I had no idea what I was letting my self into and how things would turn out .The first several months were dificult .Xerox wasnt outright friendly to outsiders, and in my case even my immediate boss Sandeep Mathur didnt know I was joining .He was peeved about it and did make his displeasure known to the people who had recruited me , Nanani in particular and also Arvind Aggarwal. It was however the mentorship of Nanani and Arvind Aggarwal and the early acceptance I had of the German head of operations Karl Kummer , that helped me settle down .One of my early tasks , a report on the Goa Service franchise operations , was very well received by Karl and I understand he told many people that this was one of the best reports he had seen !!!!!
I had had a very emotional bond with HCL and leaving it to join Xerox tugged at many emotional strings .That Xerox was a competitor to HCL made the relationship even more tricky.The first day as I walked into the Xerox office at New Friends colony, I was overwhelmed with emortion.I thought to myself , I had never imagined that I would enter the portals of this company.The same strong emotions passed through my mind as I was signing the hotel register at Baroda on my first tour.It would take several years before I would get emotionally attached to Xerox and though I always remembered HCL fondly ,my attachment for Xerox and the fact that I had fitted in and was well accepted  now made me a Xeroxian.I was in course of time to become a father figure to the Xerox service team and an "iconic symbol" of Xerox in my own rights.
The org culture and work way at Xerox was completely different from HCL.HCL was unstructured and centrally driven.Xerox was structured and heavily matrixed.Descision making at HCL was direct and the head of each operations had a field day to himself.We were given a fair degree of freedom and once we had won the trust of the key managers in the system , we had fairly sweeping powers to act as we thought fit.In Xerox in the early days, systems and processes were important and one had to follow laid down processes.The matrixed work way also meant that one had to take several people on board before one could implement one’s ideas. HCL had an "egalitarian" work way and levels and heirarchy were down played and a strong people oriented culture prevailed.Infrastructure and facilities for employees were weak and employees worked with extrordinary zeal and attachment to the company and their managers seeking very little in return and un mindfull of suport facilities.Xerox was, at least in the initial days more status conscious and the need to be showyee and upper crust ran right through the company.When I first joined and I was asked which car I would like, I opted for a Maruti 800 , which every one thought was strange — the reason was they believed a Maruti 800 wasnt meant to be chauffer driven.All senior managers who had company vehicales had either a Fiat or an Ambassador and almost every one had a chauffer.The chauffer was part of the compensation pack .I nevertheless opted for the Maruti 800 and chose to drive myself .Xerox would change over the years .
The Xerox work way was fasinating for me .The structured work way the quality principles and the heavy emphasis on training ,were things I took strongly too.And this maybe one of the reasons I fitted in so well in Xerox. The Xerox culture while being process driven also trived on bonding to the organisation and team spirit and the Xerox fellowship was very strong .Even now after most of the early team have left and gone to responsible positions in various industries , the spirit de corps continues to be very strong.
That I had managed to adjust and gain success in both cultures speaks ,I guess, for my adaptability .I do not know today if I am principally a Xerox man or a HCL man , and this after I have returned to HCL and have now spent close to four successful years in my second stint in HCL. However I have enjoyed and cherished my working days in both companies.I owe a lot to both companies for the opportunities they gave me and for the sevral rewards and recognitions I received in both organisations.

Author: hari008

Business Leader , Mentor and Executive Coach with a long track record of achievement , developing high performance teams and mentoring team members who now hold responsible positions in several leading companies

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