ORIGIN resumes operations successfully from December 7

Customer comes first; always. When this gets embedded in an organization culture, then the ability to tackle any situation, seen or unforeseen, becomes possible. This innate capability is applicable for even handling a natural calamity. The rains that started around Diwali became so persistent that what started as delayed monsoons snowballed into an unprecedented downpour leading to floods! Everything came to a grinding halt. The unexpected situation marooned the southern metro. Normal life was affected to an extent that thousands of schools, colleges, and universities had to be shut down in the state. Commercial activity too came to a standstill. IT companies and others following business continuity process (BCP) were totally taken aback, reflecting the magnitude of the crisis. Nothing worked. While some businesses were fortunate to inform their customers, the devastating impact of the calamity made many others go incommunicado! Most industrial estates, established several decades ago to usher in industrialization, were battered with the deluge taking its toll on the infrastructure. The calamity that Chennai witnessed after a century impacted every section of the society. Nature’s indiscriminate tirade spared no one.

Let us for a minute pause and turn to read a side that not many organizations can lay their claim to! Such being the grim scenario, the industrial estate of Guindy, one of the oldest to be established, is where Origin Learning Solutions operates. On December 7, when the estate was still in shambles and had not picked itself up, Origin commenced its operations successfully. One advantage, if at all, one may say so in this context, is the 3rd floor locational aspect of Origin! With rains washing away anything and everything on the ground, this locational advantage certainly proved to be a great boon for the organization in terms of minimizing the impact.

together we can-origin resumes operations

Last week on Monday, a note from HR to the people of the organization read: “We are glad to announce that we have been able to restore our infrastructure at a very fast rate. But, we still have a couple of issues we are trying to fix at the earliest and ensure smooth working.” 

How is it that the learning organization was able to resume its operations effectively? What gave it the confidence? Who were instrumental in the decision-making to enable it to achieve this level of confidence? How did the whole thing unfold? What competencies were required to make ‘resumption’ of business possible? How were its global customers taking this situation? What was the communication channel used? How severe was the impact? What about the project deadlines and other business commitments that could not be postponed? What strategy was adopted? Remember, like other businesses, Origin, which has another India office in Bangalore, too had no power and connectivity. The infrastructure backbone was virtually non-existent.

There are many lessons to be learnt, understood, and followed. Leadership, experience, the ability to adapt and the resilient spirit of the people have added a newer dimension to the way business is done at Origin. People are the fixed assets of an organization! Even if you were to lose all infrastructure you can build a company back up with just its people. Right from the administration team to the top management, there was a sense of urgency to participate in the rebuilding efforts so that revival of business was done without making the enormous struggle too visible to dent the overall morale. That Origin’s customers stood shoulder to shoulder during the crisis is a mirror-like reflection of the people’s endurance and their ability to bounce back with full vigor and energy to work diligently, with a focus and dedication that has brought the organization to progress so far.

The organization was able to pick itself back up because of the following reasons:

  • Resilience
  • Unity in thought and action
  • Focus on customer service and deadlines
  • Power of collective intelligence
  • Speed and power of execution
  • DNA and spirit of the organization
  • Harnessing the power of social media
  • Leveraging technology
  • Out-of-the-box thinking
  • Tweaking HR policies to make it situational

Look out to know more on how these worked in Origin’s favor in the next and concluding blog

Also read what a climate expert has to say: http://www.wri.org/blog/2015/12/learning-disaster-chennai-flood-offers-personal-lesson-climate-adaptation