Success lessons from Airtel


s people try to understand what Airtel is like, I would like to share some of the success lessons from Airtel, based on the eight years when I worked there from June 2011 to April 2019.

This will be a good start to getting a glimpse of what Airtel is like and what makes it a big and success brand on the market.

Below are some of the key success lessons I learnt from Airtel:

Action oriented: The Airtel culture is an action-oriented culture. I remember that when I joined, after the first meeting of the directors which ended around lunch time, I was taking a bit of my time on the actions that I had and hoping to deal with them later in the week. But, around 4:30 pm, my boss called me to ask for the update on closure of the actions. This was a big wake up call for me that “in this place they want action done quickly and fast.” And that was to be the rest of my stay there. You have to drive your actions quickly. You talk but all talk is geared towards action and once action is agreed, it must be executed quickly and with precision.

Business oriented: Airtel is a business and everyone remembers that all the time. Everyone does his or her job, remembering that they work for a business that needs to serve the society and also make some money. Everyone at Airtel nearly becomes a ‘business person’. The company has built a good culture that ensures that you learn how business is done and how business is run. This is not just limited to those in the business functions like sales and marketing but everyone. Even a human resource or procurement officer knows that he or she has to support a business that needs to do well.

Market oriented: At Airtel, everyone scans and reads the market all the time. This means having a mindset that makes you to be fully and always aware of what is happening in the market out there. What do customers want? What are the customers saying? And most importantly, this involves also understanding what the other players in the market are doing and why? That is why Airtel has remained a market share leader for a long time—due to their good understanding and constant listening into the market.

Dynamism: Any business that is static and not dynamic cannot go far. Airtel is a good example of a very dynamic business. They are not afraid to change something that does not work. It is not just an approach, but an embedded conduct that becomes part of the business’ DNA. Change is important for any organisation. But many organisations struggle with change. The biggest resistance to change is people—usually staff. At Airtel, change is constant and there is a culture of working with and not against change. That is a big plus, especially for a company playing in the field of mobile telecommunications because by its nature, this is a very dynamic industry.

Team spirit: I have heard of many companies where people are not happy due to cheap talk, too much company politics and people working against each other, including ‘outsmarting’ each other. Airtel’s being of an action-oriented company shields many staff from most of these ills. Everyone is so focused on action and delivery that working together becomes an obvious style so much so that spending time on unnecessary company politics and outsmarting each other has no place there. Even if you attempted, you would not have much of an audience for that. Be there next week when we share more success lessons from Airtel, which you can use to adopt and adapt to your particular situation at work, in business and at personal level. If you do this, then just like Airtel itself does, you too will rise and shine! Good luck!

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