The Client's context & need
Launched in July 2006, Cleartrip is a leading travel tech e-commerce company, that was acquired by Flipkart in 2021. Post-acquisition, Cleartrip started its 2.0 journey of growth, with a newly formed leadership team, that included existing leaders from Cleartrip, Flipkart and fresh talent hired from travel industry, resulting in very different backgrounds, contexts and business culture in the leadership team. Most of these leaders were first time CXOs who were evolving with their new role.
Together, this team was geared for envisioning and driving the growth for the organization. However, they lacked an integrated culture, demonstrated more artificial harmony and were finding it difficult to collectively overcome roadblocks influencing team and organizational goals. This resulted in the following 3 key objectives that they wanted to achieve from a leadership team intervention:
- Set norms to achieve the 4x goal
- Make a shift from artificial harmony to synergy to powerful alignment by increasing the level of trust and healthy conflict amongst the team members
- Co-create a common culture to integrate the senior leadership team
The need was to optimize the collective potential of this team for achieving the growth target. With this goal in mind, Cleartrip got TransforMe Learning on-board as their learning partner.
What TransforMe did and how
TransforMe’s Synergizing Strengths (SS) lab-based program is specifically designed to tackle comparable issues to those faced by Cleartrip and is focused on developing and aligning leadership teams. The SS Lab is a relevant solution when the leadership team:
- Is newly formed with different leaders coming together and shows signs of poor alignment
- Has a new leader taking over who has observed that signs of team issues/ dynamics are at play
- Is doing well but needs to gear up to a much higher performance level
- Has become less productive over time and possible team dysfunctions are one of the key reasons for inability to achieve business goals
TransforMe conducted intensive diagnostics, sponsor interviews and utilized scientific assessment tools like the Team Assessment by Table group, which helped to understand the inter-related relationships and the simmering issues of the team. Peer influence was used as a strategy to overcome resistance and get a buy-in from the leaders during the diagnostics.
A 2-day impactful Lab session was conducted in-person that created a safe space for authentic exploration, vulnerable dialogue and transparent understanding of each other’s perspectives. The techniques of T-Group, Gestalt, Psychodrama, Projective Cards processes and Emotional Intelligence were used as a guide to nudge the participants and create breakthroughs for them. The systemic coaching approach enabled each leader to learn to navigate within the system more effectively; and was specifically designed to address the themes that emerged from the assessment tool and the diagnostics. Post the 2-day Lab session, approximately 8 leaders were identified as “standing-most-to-gain” from individual coaching and completed their journeys.
Frequent check-ins, intermittent nudges and reminders, and continuous observations for change in team dynamics in the next 5 months of the program, ensured sustenance of efforts to bring about a change. After about 5 months into the program, a Large group alignment session, in a lab session format, with the objective to drive collective accountability, share learnings and best practices, and address any pending dialogues, was planned and delivered. This was followed by a post team assessment & survey to measure success against the business needs.
The Table Group Team Assessment along with a custom-designed Team survey was administered for measuring the effectiveness of the intervention. The following 4 metrics were defined and measured for this Leadership Team. A benchmark of 15% improvement in the first 3 metrics and a Program attribution to Business Success (metric 4) of 30%, was established for comparison.
Ayappan Rajagopal, CEO, Cleartrip
“A lot of team members came to me and shared how this has changed completely the ways of working with other functions and how open and how transparent they have started becoming and how as an organisation, we have evolved together post SS Labs.”
Prahlad Krishnamurthi, Chief Business Officer, Cleartrip
“I think definitely we are a significantly more cohesive unit. Out of my last 8 years in the Flipkart team, this has emerged to be a very solid team, thanks to SS lab as well.”
Aditya Agarwal – Chief Financial Officer, Cleartrip
“Since the first lab, those of us who were part of that workshop have become much more trusting, much more open with each other. Now when I have a disagreement with somebody at work, I know where they're coming from. I think that level of connect has really helped. As a company we've really grown almost 3x since that first SS Lab. I think it wouldn't have happened if we had not established that level of working relationship.”
Gaurav Patwari - Vice President – Air, Cleartrip
“I found SS Lab to be quite effective and impactful. It really helped us in bridging the gaps between the team members and brought a lot of cohesiveness. Today we are operating as one strong, powerful unit. We have really built an efficient ecosystem leading to superior business outcomes. Today I can proudly say that we've been delivering exceptional performance for the past many months. Thank you SS Labs.”