Pushing for change by starting conversations

Name: Ragamayee Tellapati

Position: Deputy Manager, GBS HR

Location: Chennai

 

Recently, I stumbled upon an old e-mail thread between me and a Global Head of one of the business functions in Philips. I had presented an opposing view to his initial decision based on what I was seeing on the ground (he was located overseas in the Netherlands). When I read through those 3 to 4 rounds of discussions we had, I still feel awed that I had the courage to speak up that way and that it happened within the first 20 days of my full-time role here!

Taking the Wheel and Doing the Job Well

 

That's how Philips has shaped me. I have been with this organisation for almost 2 years now, since the time I was a management trainee in the Business Leadership Program. I have developed professionally and personally into someone who, instead of taking the manager's word as the final verdict, has learnt to commandeer from the driver's seat.

 

When I entered my first full-time employment with Philips, I was given responsibility way beyond what I had expected. Before starting the role, I had no prior work experience, save for the 2-month internship I undertook at Philips while I was in college. I assumed that with my lack pf experience, I would be more of a “do-er” than a “decision-maker”. My manager had different ideas though. She constantly pushed me to pick up things on my own, and encouraged me to drive my projects and own them from start to finish, all while providing support if I needed any assistance. In all my projects with Philips so far, I have had the opportunity to propose my own ideas and challenge the views of others. On many occasions when expected these conversations to be fronted by someone more experienced, I was pleasantly surprised when I was asked to take the lead. My manager always backed me up and encouraged me to get my hands dirty and make decisions courageously. I was initially more of a “Yes man”, carefully considering the opinions of others and not really voicing my own. She noticed this and told me, “Raga, you're not being paid to agree with me. You're being paid to do your job well”, and that has been etched in my mind ever since.

Gaining Recognition from Colleagues

 

While undergoing my year-long BLP training, I worked with HR on an internal project that I hold dear to my heart. This project involved developing a 90-minute session about career-related issues such as how people think about careers in today's world, how we look at our own careers, and career drivers and mistakes. It was a short assignment but it received rave reviews from attendees, and some even asked for a copy to run with their own respective teams. I am extremely proud of it and the project taught me how to tap into and draw from available resources to create something useful.

A Unique Experience

 

I would have to say, starting my career in Philips was a significant and good decision. Even during the first part of my journey back in 2014 as an intern, I compared my experience with my other friends from school and saw a stark difference. I got to work on a large-scale project and received great coaching and visibility in the company.

If You Seek Change, Ask for It


In Philips, we work in a safe and approachable environment, where you are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. I've realised one thing here: If you do not ask questions or speak up at the right moment, you will not get what you want. I've made it known to my managers in the past whenever I felt underutilised or frustrated at not getting to work on projects long-term, and the responses have always been, “okay Raga, let's change things now”. There’s a joke in my current team that if things do not change every two days, people get bored. Nothing has been constant, and it keeps us on our toes and ready for the next challenge.

 

As long as you have the right intentions to do your best and do what is right for the company, the opportunities are boundless, and Philips makes it clear to their employees that they are valuable. You really push your limits and explore sides of your personalities you did not know existed! All this while working with supportive colleagues in a challenging environment – is that not everything you could ask for?