When culture is your product
When Pingala was founded in Denmark ten years ago, the idea was to create a workplace without the bureaucratic, non-productive, and expensive management layer, that other companies might have.
Over the years, the idea of a flat, no-hierarchy organization crystalized itself, and was increasingly more deliberately executed, driven also by the employees. Pingala is now nearly 30 employees in Denmark, and has achieved 6 Gazelle awards in 6 consecutive years. (The Gazelle award is established by the Danish financial paper Børsen, and is given to organizations who over four consecutive years – amongst other things – have continuous growth, and at least doubled their revenue.)
The culture is characterized by a networked organization, a strong purpose, freedom to chose what customer engagements to work on and what internal activities to contribute to, and transparency on nearly everything. Pingala has made their culture their product. WHO they are and HOW they do stuff are the main reasons for employee attraction and retention, and for customer satisfaction.
An opportunity for opening a Dubai branch appeared some 2 years ago, and Pingala rose to the challenge: If we can build a Pingala-culture in Dubai, we can do it everywhere. And it seems like they can. With a handful of handpicked IT consultants from India, Lebanon, and Pakistan, Pingala initiated an intense and insisting journey to create and nurture a different kind of company. This was unusual for employees and customers in Dubai.
It was a matter of copying and applying the Danish Pingala approach with no alterations to the Dubai setup – and repeating, repeating, and repeating the messages:
- We want to create an oasis for you; a place where you feel psychological safe, and want to show up.
- We only hire the best colleagues in the market.
- We insist that the organization is flat. We measure the network yearly, and debate how to avoid hierarchy.
- We deliberately move tasks from management to employees, for example handling customer escalation, or colleague-to-colleague mentoring.
- We insist on personal leadership. Everybody can take lead on activities, projects, technical domains, and customer projects.
- We insist that you have freedom to choose the tasks, that you want to work on. No-one forces you to work for a customer.
- And we insist on transparency.
The transformation has been going on for 2 years, and it sticks.