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Setting The Standards Of ‘New Paradigm Of Leadership’

The transition from autocratic to democratic leadership has been one of the necessary revolutions in the business world. Earlier, coercion and dominance propelled consistency and success. Businesses had a pyramid hierarchy with authority concentrated in a linear group at the top, who ruled over others below. Compulsion, force, control, secrecy, and, occasionally, more drastic methods characterised the top-down approach. But with time and technological evolutions, new ideas thought processes and understandings of productivity re-tooled leadership. This “New paradigm of leadership” abolished the traditional class system, paving the way for teamwork, innovation, and creativity.

The change resonated a positive impact across geographical boundaries. It empowered many aspiring leaders who sought to grow with a people-centric approach. Saju Joseph & Jeff Reed are two new entrants in this new era of leadership. Despite being digital leaders, their core business ethic centers on their people’s development. Their altruistic leadership makes them qualified to include in our upcoming edition “10 Best Indian CEOs to Esteem in 2022.”

What happens when a digital visionary and technology guru partner on purpose? A marvel with innovative prospects. Saju is a marketing communication expert with a track record of leading 360° go-to-market, digital marketing, branding, social media marketing, and SEO strategies. In addition, he is an AI business leader, customer engagement engineer, and architect with more than a decade of expertise in the banking, retail, real estate, beauty, and manufacturing industries.

Throughout his tenure, he has assisted brands in increasing online interaction and implementing digital growth initiatives. Jeff is a multi-national software artisan with experience in the insurance, pharmaceutical, banking, telecommunications, and local government sectors. His experience encapsulates the integration of the SAFe Agile Methodology in big IT groups and cross-functional teams in the USA. He also mentors developers and assists them in scaling their knowledge of the Modern Web and DevOps.

But what brought these maestros together? Jeff is from Oklahoma, and met Saju while visiting India for a conference. From there, they became friends as they began to dream about and envision what it might be like to have a startup in India. Jeff came with a network of US clients who might want to do business, and Saju came with a recruiting mindset, lots of local talent pool contacts, and a vision to launch a company culture which felt more like a community and family rather than a hierarchy.

They agreed from the beginning to practice lean startup principles and work quickly to get the company profitable. After securing one client, with a hired contractor, Koyal grew to become a few full-time heads, which then became a 2nd and 3rd client through continued references. Eventually, multiple teams were built around the SAFe agile methodology. Before long, a stable and profitable company was crafted from scratch, without diluting the culture via external ownership and capital.

“Onboarding the right people is a key element, not only to start but grow as a successful business,” says Saju.

The varied leadership, together with a superb mix of diversity, helps Koyal Tech foray long-term prospects and strengthens its position as they continue to acquire clients.

Building ‘Trust’ and ‘Value’ lives at the heart of Koyal Tech’s operations. Whether it’s clients or employees, Koyal Tech is people-centric and aims to build its niche around that. Recent employee survey feedback had common themes such as “great mentorship culture”, prioritizing “get-togethers” for community, and “flexible work schedule”. Its services focus not only on technology value, but also on driving business value through deep discussion, incremental and continuous changes in the clients’ digital transformation culture, and streamlining it with the product development experience.

The portfolio of product development focuses on Agile & DevOps, Business Applications, AI & Automation, Website Development, Cloud, QA testing, UI/ UX Design, and Software Development. Koyal Tech works on IT projects outsourced to India and strives to optimize the customer experience compared to its peers.

“Many of our prior clients who dealt with other Indian IT firms observed a disparity between contracted offshore developers and onshore employee developers,” asserts Jeff.

With its offshore presence, Koyal Tech overcomes the competition by extending its culture to the client as well. Rather than just being distant, disconnected contractors, the vision is to have a culture of being invested offshore employees. It is not uncommon for Koyal team members to join personal meetings with their onshore counterparts (baby showers, birthday celebrations, covid Zoom hangouts, etc).

Koyal Tech also encourages its staff to wear many hats. According to Saju, most IT Outsourcing organizations in India are MNCs, with staff typically assigned to a single task, hurdling diversified growth. At Koyal Tech, employees have the freedom to live and achieve their aspirations and work on other areas of self-growth. Their developer guild program is empowering employees to invest in one another and themselves through a combination of self-innovation time, shared learnings, and a thoroughly documented company-wide knowledge base. This leads to “bench strength”, allowing employees to have work-life balance and fully unplug when on holiday.

“Be somebody who makes everybody feel like somebody.” Today, enterprise or startup – none runs on authoritarian leadership. Work is empowered from within, and it’s the responsibility of everyone involved to see its success. A leader’s responsibility here is to always keep their spirits high in all situations – good or bad. This is where Saju strives to shine. As a leader, he strives to inspire, connect, and expand his network of individuals who aid in development. He takes inspiration from books, like The Coaching Habit, and follows its ideologies and thoughts on leadership. Saju is a sensitive person and nurtures engagement through one-on-one meets.

“Instead of calling them in the cabin, I like to sit with them, have a coffee, and discuss issues,” asserts Saju.

And maintaining this equivalently helps in addressing various day-to-day challenges.

Even in the ongoing COVID-19 turbulence, Saju and his team are connected and ensuring progress via digital channels. This helps in closing the gaps across hierarchies. Every Thursday, the directors connect with project and team leaders to discuss projects and team-related issues. Recently, they created a team or a client, but since it mostly comprised juniors, there were communication barriers. The directors organized special brainstorming sessions through social topics to help the team be more open.

The above keystones are the rewards of having the right people on board. Koyal Tech is very selective of its employees and produces quality candidates right from its interview period. It also ensures the team’s content. It selects projects that will not distress team members and devalues their growth. Koyal Tech is also planning to diversify its footfalls. It currently serves clients in India and the USA, but it aims to broaden and grow its clientele to other countries.

Koyal Tech is also planning to start an academy for the underprivileged youth of India, those who cannot afford to complete their education but have the potential and drive to learn technology. Providing them an alternative career path and offering them a stipend instead of taking fees from them, training them on innovative tools, in which Koyal Tech aims to create an alternate and effective change in education, expanding the talent pool with battle-ready talents.

Your people are your most valuable assets. They bring the industry’s genuine value as well as a huge potential for evolution in the business world.

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