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“LII Is - The Best Of Breed Focused HVACR Co. The Strength For LITC Is Being Part Of This Great Company And Being A Key Ingredient Of What Makes LII Successful"
In an interview with BW Businessworld, Prakash Bedapudi, EVP, Chief Technology Officer - LII, highlights his thoughts on the strength of Lennox India, key drivers of employee engagement and what's unique about the organization.
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What do you think is the biggest strength of LITC?
The strength of the organization is being part of Lennox International Inc. (LII) with a legacy of innovation and unparalleled customer centricity for over 125 years. Let me talk about LII first and then we get to Lennox India Technology Centre (LITC). Obviously, LITC derives its strength from the parent company LII. LII being a focused company in the industry, that routinely out innovates competition and serves our customers with industry leading products, whether it is our state-of-the-art products like iComfort S30, whether it is 28 SEER, or 99% efficiency gas furnace, just to name a few. What sets LII apart is that we always come up with industry leading products and serve our customers by leveraging our e-commerce platforms and physical distribution footprint.
LII is - the best of breed focused HVACR company. The strength obviously for LITC is being part of this great company and being a key ingredient of what makes LII successful. In other words, LITC participates in everything that is strategically important, that’s core to LII every day - whatever we touch, whether it's leading edge technology, whether it's leading edge products or material cost reduction, deploying new IT capabilities, digitizing the business processes, all of the above. LITC is at the front and center of all. So that's a unique strength for LITC, being part of a great company and having the ability to participate in everything that LII is doing to win in the end markets.
When it comes to LITC, what is that you're most proud of?
I'm personally very proud of the talent we’ve grown at LITC. Not only about the number of people hired, but also what we have done in-terms of nurturing and developing the talent. Apart from the hardcore product and technology deliverables and putting points on the board, I am equally proud of seeing employees progressing in their careers, getting higher level roles and in the process achieving their dreams by becoming managers, directors, fellows & senior technologists.
What do you think are some of the key drivers of employee engagement at LITC?
There are a few things that come to mind. One is the culture of innovation and inclusion.
LITC is not working on routine stuff, per se in a back office set up where it's mundane stuff that people are working on, and potentially the same thing over and over again. That's not what we do at LITC. Like I said earlier, LITC employees work on everything that is vital to the success of the company; everything that is core to the company, be it the new products, new IT platforms or game changing material cost reduction technology, etc. They’re included in everything and they’re very innovative. Our LITC team members work shoulder to shoulder with the best and brightest in LII to launch innovative products - that drives a lot of engagement in my mind, they feel valued, they feel excited, empowered, and hence, including them in the most innovative things we do at LII drives engagement. That's number one.
Number two is the constant communication from all levels within LII, whether it's CEO town halls, whether it's setting up business segment presidents discussions, CTO level communications and our visits to LITC to conduct skip-level meetimgs, and business unit VPs who have been conducting sessions with LITC to tell more about their business, what's important to their business, how LITC employees contributions help their business. At the end of the day, you want to know you're working on something that is important for the business success, business leaders and its yielding good results for the business and customers. So, I think that relevant and frequent leadership communication is another important aspect.
And third thing, we treat LITC as an extended arm of LII, and not an offshore unit. I mentioned about it, right? So, we all wear the same badge and, we're all the same. LITC just happens to be in different geographic location and different time zone.
Finally, we make sure LITC team’s contributions on all major strategic initiatives are visible. Be it the Pacesetter Awards (Presented by the CEO), LITC gets as many pacesetter awards as any other entity across LII on all major award categories like - innovative products, productivity initiatives, CSR initiatives, you name it. Those are the things that drive engagement.
Being certified as a great place to work two years in a row, what do you think makes LITC unique?
I guess accolades come. You don't do what you do because you're expecting an accolade like this, right? You do things because that's what you believe is the right thing to do, be it creating a culture that is just & fair, a culture that is built on high performance and a culture that is customer centric. When you're focused on doing the right things that matter to the customers then the rewards and recognitions like this happen.
What makes LITC unique is - First, the culture of inclusion and high-performance we created, so it's a meritocracy-based culture, people genuinely give it their best and get recognized. That's the nature of performance-oriented culture, right? And it's a team-oriented culture at the same time, too. It's not a game of solitaire where everybody's out for themselves. We strive for highest level of performance whilst working together as a team and collaborating for success.
Second, I think it's a testament to LII, for nurturing and growing talent at LITC. LITC is 10 years young, LII is 125 years young. If you think of the capability capacity that we built at LITC, we've had a rapid growth of the talent capability capacity. How does it happen? It doesn't happen in a vacuum. A lot of folks who have been at LII for a long time, who've perfected designing best HVAC products, they were fully on board in transferring the knowledge, growing the knowledge at LITC. In other words, it's the like-minded individuals across both sides of the ocean, focused on customer success. So that's what makes LITC so unique. One, because LII is a team-oriented place where they're genuinely interested in the growth of LITC, at the same time LITC has earned the right for that investment and the trust in them by delivering on every customer commitment.
And finally, it’s testament to the team of LITC. The way I think about the team is that they're very ambitious, competitive, yet very collaborative and team oriented. It’s a rare combination, oftentimes in cultures where the more competitive the culture is less collaborative and less team oriented. It's all about individuals putting points on the board and sort of cutthroat competition, undercutting each other on the same team. We don't have that issue.
On the other side the words that come to my mind as I think about LITC are these, they’re energetic, they're fun loving, and they help the communities they live in, yet they have relentless focus on delivering on customer promises. The blend of all these qualities along with laser focus to ensure customer success and deliverables are met is what makes LITC unique.