With Rajesh Setty on Communication (EN)

Rajesh in terms of communications, what is (for you personally) most important?

Viktor, I think it is hard to pin down the order of importance when it comes to communication. For me, all communications are equally important.

Of course, a breakdown in the communication with the external world (customers, prospects, partners etc.) will lead to an immediate negative impact for the company. However, it is important to note that a breakdown in other forms of communication will ultimately manifest itself in some form of a breakdown with the external world sooner than later. For example, a breakdown in HR communication will lead to a disgruntled employee that may lead to a breakdown in an interpersonal communication that may in-turn lead to a breakdown in communication with a client or a prospect.

In summary, you have to be thoughtful in all sorts of communication. If you have problems with communicating with the external world, you pay a heavy price immediately, otherwise you pay a heavy price a bit later.

You started up few businesses, written a book, those all can be considered products… now, what is the role of communication (in terms of branding and marketing)? What is the importance of marketing for you as a top manager?

Everything that we do is a form of a story we tell. Our businesses are telling stories and my books are telling stories. Even both of our blogs are telling stories. You don’t tell a good story, then you don’t have a play. Marketing is a form of story-telling where you make people aware of your offers to the marketplace. Branding is a form of story-telling where you are differentiating your offer and demanding a premium.

Both marketing and branding are a must not only for a company, product or service but even for an individual. Understand and act on this and you will set a foundation to thrive. Ignore this and you will risk commoditization and obsolescence.

How do you “market” yourself to the staff/employees?

Rather than “marketing” to staff and employees, my goal is to earn their trust. In most airlines, at the end of the flight they thank the passengers by saying something like this “We know you have a choice of airlines for your travel needs. We are glad that you chose us for your travel and we look forward to serving you again soon”. This is a good thing not only for airlines but also for life in general. Everybody has choices. A professional relationship is a journey that we undertake together. I am proud of everyone that I am associated with and I am thankful to them and to GOD for bringing us together in this journey. I know they all have choices in life and they chose to align together with THIS team to take the journey together.

If we bring the right team together,
(a) every team member will increase their capacity because of who else is there in the team and
(b) every team member will contribute to increase the capacity of other members in the team.
(c) the group as a whole will increase its capacity because of the individuals within the team.

What I strive to do is to create teams that will provide individual team members an accelerated path to increasing their capacity to grow. That is my promise to everyone that will work with me. If I can consistently prove that I am delivering on that promise, I would have successfully “marketed” myself to the people that I am working with.

What is most important in the relationship employer – employee?

TRUST. When it is lost, there is no relationship 😦

What would you do if you would not pick a team, but received it and you had to make the team productive and friendly (assuming it was not when you received it)?

There are a few things that I can think of. Let me outline them.

1. Understand the current configuration
This is the very first step. To understand who is doing what. In other words, to figure out if the right people are in the right seats on the bus.

2. Fine-tune the configuration
The next step is to see how I can fine-tune the configuration – meaning put the right people in the right seats on the bus. This may mean that some people will go and new people will come in. This may sound harsh but if that is what is required to be done, no alternative will be sufficient.

3. Align individual and team objectives
This typically involves some work re-design. Problems come when the incentives for individual work results are mis-aligned with incentives for the group results.
Work re-design will involve creating work for an individual that will in some way move him or her towards his or her individual goals while performing work for the organization.

4. Fine-tune accountability structures
The final goal of the re-design project will be to have team members that are autonomous (meaning they require minimal supervision to produce good results) but that is a journey that will take time. Meanwhile, we have to put together accountability structures that work and yield results.

5. Create an environment for rapid individual growth
A friend of mine in Malaysia conducted a survey to find out why people leave an organization. Money, Bad Boss and everything else you can think of came up. My friend dug deeper into the survey to find that the #1 reason an employee left an organization was lack of growth. People are intelligent and they want to grow. The organization has to create an environment where there is no lid on individual growth.

About Rajesh Setty:

Rajesh Setty is a serial entrepreneur, investor and author based in Silicon Valley. Rajesh is involved in several companies in US and India mostly in some combination of investor, advisor or operating executive. His latest book “Beyond Code” (foreword by Tom Peters) was published late 2005.

Photo by Claus Grünstäudl on Unsplash